I have watched only a handful of Hollywood movies including gems like Gandhi and Titanic. However today I am reviewing the Hollywood movie which is closest to my heart. It is Stuart Little (1999). At the time of watching it for the first time, I was expecting it to be a movie mainly made for the children. However after watching it fully, not only I have got addicted to watch it every time it is telecast on TV on any channel and irrespective of the fact whether the version is Hindi (dubbed) or English (the original one). This movie has gone so deep into my heart that it moves me every time I watch it.
Stuart Little is a unique combination of computerized animation and live action. The central character – Stuart is a mouse and there are certain other animal characters in the movie in the form of the cat – Snowbell, his friends (cats) and one mouse couple playing the fake parents of Stuart. These have been managed through computerized animation (with their dialogues dubbed in human voices). And then we have human characters too which are the members of the Little family (husband, wife and male kid) plus the supporting characters. The activities and relationships of all these animated and human characters form the touching screenplay of Stuart Little which is undoubtedly an outstanding movie winning many awards.
Little mouse Stuart is adopted by Little family consisting of Mr. Fredrick Little; his wife – Eleanor, their son – George and the pet cat – Snowbell. The Little couple loves its adopted son very much but George is not ready to accept it as his brother and Snowbell is not happy to have a new member in the house sharing the love of its masters. How Stuart wins the hearts of both George and Snowbell and finally settles down in the family after a short span of separation from them because of a mouse couple claiming to be its parents, forms the remaining story.
Director Rob Minkoff has excellently directed the story adapted from the book of E.B. White with the screenplay written by Manoj Night Shyamalan and Greg Booker. The movie is so engrossing that the viewer hardly realizes when it comes to its end. It is well-paced, yet very touching movie. Right from the background score to the dialogues of the animals in the voices of Michael J. Fox (for Stuart), Nathan Lane (for Snowbell) and others to the camera work and art direction to the performances of the artists (Huge Laurie, Geena Davis and Jonathan Lipnicki as the Little family), everything is just superb. The animated white mouse (Stuart) looks adorable and lovely. Seeing it wearing different style clothes and doing different things like the human-beings is an experience to cherish. The scene of the boat-race is outstanding. The film does not let the viewer down even for a moment.
Now the bigger question is – why do I like a children’s movie so much that I am ready to watch it countless number of times ? In fact, I have given standing instructions to my children to call me immediately whenever they find Stuart Little being telecast on any channel whether in English or in Hindi (dubbed version). Let me explain the reason for being so much passionate about this movie. This movie establishes Indian family values which are universal in their appeal in the most effective manner. The love and affection among the family members, their adjustments and compromises to accommodate one another, their readiness to sacrifice own joy and benefit for the fellow member’s sake; everything touches me deep within. Two members of a family may not look alike, they may not be associated biologically and there may be a plethora of apparent differences between them; still the bond of love, if well-knitted, can keep them mentally close.
The love of the Little couple (especially the mother) for the adopted mouse and its reciprocation for their love is able to confirm my view that our love can find its genuine expression even for the animals. When Snowbell, the pet cat of the house (after first misguiding Stuart when it returns back to home and then conspiring with its friends to kill Stuart) finally saves Stuart’s life from its friends, i.e., other cats; Stuart tells them (other cats) that it is not necessary for two members of a family to look like one another and the love can stand despite the appearance difference; it is a lesson for all in the human-world too.
Stuart Little has everything to recommend itself. It generates laughs. It generates amusement. It generates emotions and tears. Not only me, anyone who has seen it once, can watch it several times. I have seen its sequel too. However it is the first and the original part which has had a standing (positive) impact upon me.
I end my review with the final dialogues in the Hindi version of the movie. When Stuart is finally back home in the ending scene, it asks George – Kya Ek Sukhi Parivaar Aisa Hi Hota Hai ? (Is a happy family like this only ?) and gets George’s reply – Haan, Jab Sapne Sach Hote Hain (Yes, when the dreams come true).
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