Customer Reviews: Because of Winn Dixie
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on May 9, 2005
I was annoyed to find that 2/3 of the reviewers (or at least one) who gave this movie one star haven't even seen it; they judged it purely on the ads they saw and automatically assumed that the book was much better. I loved the book dearly, and I actually read it when I was already 14!! I was so tired of all these stories about boys and their dogs, and how a boy needs a dog to have a good childhood; this was different, because I could associate with Opal so much better!

Sure, there are a few minor differences--Opal is a blonde not a red-head, and that dog is anything but ugly. Big deal. It's not as traumatic a change as having Harry Potter be a blonde and have no scar. People made too much an issue out of that, and also complained that AnnaSophia Robb could not act. This I must disagree with. That kid drew every emotion out of me that a filmmaker would want. She almost made me cry (on five occasions), and not just any kid actor can make tear up. She is a good actress in her own right, and I'm glad she'll be in a few other films this year.

The rest of the cast was great as well, even Dave Matthews. I loved seeing Eva Marie Saint in her role (it's been a while for her to be on the big screen!) In fact the only annoying thing in this movie was the cop, thrown in for a few very cheap, very annoying laughs (like the wedgie joke). But he's only in two scenes, thankfully, though the movie would be a lot better on the whole without him.

Overall, this is one of those movies you MUST see before you judge it. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a cynic! "Because of Winn-Dixie" combines a sweet story with good acting, directing, effects, and all that jazz. It can be very entertaining for the entire family, teenagers included (if they'd give it a chance!). Really, you're missing out if you decide to pass over this one.
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on March 6, 2005
I'm a 51-year-old guy, and I took my best friends' little 9-year-old girl to see this film (recommended by my own mother!). Previously, we'd seen "Lemony Snickets: A Series of Unfortunate Events," which I enjoyed immensely. Normally, we go see computer animated films. "Robots" is next!

"Because of Winn-Dixie" is a true family film, and that is a genre I usually avoid like the plague. Maybe this film hit me at a time when my heartstrings were ripe for plucking, I don't know. But I began shedding tears almost immediately after it began, and those tears kept pumping, even though I laughed here and there. I might add that my "niece" did not cry, but she liked the film a lot. (She's never owned a dog, but this movie isn't really about the dog, anyway.) I don't know how this film would strike me on a second viewing. It has some obvious flaws, but it's a wonderful film in so many ways that I have to give it 4 stars based on this one viewing. With respect to the young star, AnnaSophia Robb, I found her very adorable (but not cutesy), and, with all due respect to some other negative opinions expressed here, a wonderfully convincing actress. There are a lot of bad child actors out there (the all-time worst had to be the kid who played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace). But AnnaSophia is NOT one of them. I would recommend this film to any adult who has a big heart, and who hasn't already been jaded by routine family fare.
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The movie "Because of Winn Dixie" has been kept true to the book. I found it to be as charming, heartwarming and even a bit better in some instances in comparison to the printed version. I think it's mainly Cicely Tyson's 'Gloria Dump' that takes it up a notch. She was a perfect choice to play the blind women who teaches India Opal what it means to truly 'see.' I pictured Gloria very differently and was pleasantly surprised by the uncharacteristically scruffy Tyson. Jeff Daniels and Dave Matthews are men who have been hurt but still manage to take the risks needed to keep love flowing to them and from them. "Winn Dixie" is set in an old, rural town in Florida which made me yearn for a simpler time when it was safe for children to ride their bikes around town, explore, and just be kids. In that way, "Because of Winn Dixie" reminds me a lot of "Sandlot."
This movie is all about heart and it is a perfect family movie, for boys and girls, young and old alike and should be on everyone's pre-order list. I really can't recommend it any higher and I feel it's a must have for everyone, even families without kids. It is THAT good.
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on February 20, 2005
One expects a movie pushed so hard as a 'kid's movie' to be pretty dreadful ... lots of sprinkles, treacle & gooey-goodness.

Thank the gods, this *isn't* 1 of them. The adult stars - Jeff Daniels, Eva Marie Saint, Cicely Tyson & [surprise!] Dave Matthews - are great, but the true sparkle is Anna Sophia Robb as the lonely daughter of an abandoned preacher in a tiny town w/the church in a convenience store. Enter Win-Dixie, a horse of a mutt [actually a purebred, but he *looks* quite mutty] shines as he helps the child tear down the fences beween people. Every time you expect the film to go into "aww!' fulness, it swerves into a more considered and - dare i say it? - more adult look at the distance people put between each other ... & how to shorten it into nothingnesss.

Good in a wholesome - but *never* icky-poo sweet - way, it shows the delight 1 can find in a squalid trailer park, a convenience store-turned-Baptist chapel, & a dusty, small town in the middle of Nowhere FL [actually, LA]. Recommended.
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VINE VOICEon August 10, 2005
When I saw the ads for this movie, I was hoping I would be able to avoid having to take my kids to see it. The studio marketed this film like it was another "Beethoven" film with the dog doing all kinds of wacky stuff that only the 10 and under crowd would enjoy, "Racing Stripes" anyone?? So when I got home last night and my wife had rented the dvd of "Winn Dixie" I was less than thrilled. We popped it in, and within 10 minutes I knew this was not a standard kiddie flick. Sure it's kid friendly, and the 10 and younger crowd will love the dog, and goofy deputy, but there is so much more to this film. To be honest the movie really isn't about the dog, it's more of a coming of age tale of the young girl. The characters all come to life and aren't just there for window dressing or to do reaction shots for the dog. The acting is great, the story is wonderful (don't be surprised to find yourself with a lump in your throat on a couple occasions). There is more "To Kill a Mockingbird" to "Winn Dixie" than there is "Beethoven". A really wonderful film.
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on July 29, 2005
I read this book when I was 11, and read it all the time! I am now 13 and it's my favorite book! The movie is great; very good directing, except for minor changes from paper to screen. This film is GREAT for kids over six, and adults under 106. I LOVE IT AND CAN'T WAIT FOR IT TO BE ON D.V.D.!!!!!!

Recomended to ANYONE who loves a good story about love, friendship, trust, lonliness, family, strength, and a good dog! :-)
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on January 25, 2006
Ten-year-old India Opal "Opal" (AnnaSophia Robb) moved to a small town in Florida in an attempt to please her father, the Preacher (Jeff Daniels), but she could never truly think of the place as home. Maybe it's because she has no friends in the new town, or maybe it's because she keeps thinking about her mother. The one who abandoned her when she was just 3-years-old. But that all changes one day when she steps into the local Winn-Dixie Grocery Store to pick up a box of macaroni and cheese, a bag of rice, and three tomatoes. For while she's browsing through the produce section, Opal sees a large dog run by, and soon the entire store is in an uproar as they try to catch the pesky intruder. When Opal finds out that they plan on sending the poor pooch to the pound, she announces that he's her dog, and soon, that's just what he is. Christened Winn-Dixie, Opal is soon spending each and every day with the lovable pup, and before she knows it, she's made many friends, all thanks to the fact that Winn-Dixie opens the door for her to meet new people - no matter how different they are.

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE is one of my favorite books. It always has been, and always will be. Which is why I knew that I needed to own a copy of this film, even before I saw it. AnnaSophia Robb (SAMANTHA: AN AMERICAN GIRL HOLIDAY and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY) is outstanding as the girl who wants nothing more than a friend; while Jeff Daniels (CHEATERS and THE GOODBYE GIRL) couldn't be more amazing as the sullen Preacher, who does what he can to ensure a happy life for Opal. Though the person who steals the show - other than Winn-Dixie - is Dave Matthews (WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS) who is absolutely wonderful as the town loner, Otis, who is keeping a secret. With fabulous appearances by Harland Williams (KART RACER and FREDDY GOT FINGERED) as the goofy police officer; and Cicely Tyson (THE ROSA PARKS STORY and MS. SCROOGE) as Gloria, a profound blind woman who can teach anyone a lesson with words; as well as an appearance by Elle Fanning (THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR and DADDY DAY CARE) as the adorable Sweetie Pie Thomas. WINN-DIXIE will smile his way into your heart, and leave an impression on you for years to come.

Erika Sorocco

Freelance Reviewer

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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on July 4, 2005
I thought this movie was so so awesome.First I read the book because my teacher recomended it and then the movie came out and I am a HUGE fan of AnnaSophia Robb I mean my hometown is 1 hour away from her's anyway she was so great @ her part I mean it must be hard and Exciting working with big huge stars like Cicely Tyson,Jeff Daniels,Eva Marie Saint,Dave Matthews,and Child Starlette Courtney Jines

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on August 13, 2005
There are few films in history that capture the magic of childhood so magnificently. I can only think of two, being "To Kill A Mockingbird" and now "Because Of Winn Dixie". This film will make you laugh until your sides split, cry until your eyes sting, stir emotions that remind us of faith in our lord, and take us all back to things remembered of our own childhood. I have a tire swing in the tree in my front yard because of "To Kill A Mockingbird". I might be inclined to make a "Tree Of Ghosts" or at the least a windchimes made from old bottles, and I don't care what the neighbors think. Films like this remind me to live a simple life, stop trying to impress the Jones'es, and teaches me how to be a better father. That's the real magic here. If you so nothing else significant this year, buy this DVD (or VHS), watch it with your kids, laugh, cry, pray, and knock on a neighbors door and say "Hi"! And it'll all be BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE. Do that, and this movie will help make this world we live in a better place, and isn't that what we'd all wish for?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 14, 2006
Based upon the children's book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo, BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE is the story that revolves around a young girl named Opal (AnnaSophia Robb). Opal's mother ran off when she was young, leaving her to be raised by her father (Jeff Daniels) who happens to be a preacher--which is also what Opal calls him. The father and daughter move to a new town in the South U.S. where Preacher has a new congregation that meets in an old store. Opal is lonely. She loves her father, but as a preacher he has an entire congregation that he is responsible for, too. Opal longs for a friend and while in the local Winn-Dixie supermarket one day, she meets a stray dog there that is causing trouble. The dog obeys Opal's voice and soon becomes her constant companion. With Winn-Dixie as her guide and companion, Opal sets off on some very interesting adventures, rekindles her relationship with her dad, and befriends a wide variety of people, from an elderly librarian to a shady pet store worker. Through all of her encounters Opal learns that love is a powerful force, sometimes so powerful that the only way we can grow is to let go of the things we love most.

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE offers some fine performances. AnnaSophia Robb captures the youthful innocence, wandering spirit, and awkward emotional growth of Opal perfectly. Jeff Daniels is directly on as Preacher. Dave Matthews makes a startling good debut performance as pet store worker, Otis, and I have to say it was nice to see Matthew on a more human playing-field than the divine-like status his cult of followers have placed him upon. Cicely Tyson and Eva Marie Saint also have roles and round out part of Opal's closest inner circle.

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE is a good family film. The film is full of quirky characters, but they are characters that every child could meet if they lived in a safe place that was open to letting children be themselves instead of pretending they were adults. The film has some good messages and despite that sadness that tinges its corners, it fills the viewer with hope and not despair.
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