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on September 8, 2006
The story in this movie is faithful to the book in almost all respects. More important, the movie is faithful to the spirit of the book. The characters are appealing, and Max von Sydow manages to play the grandfather's gruff moments without alienating the audience. Also, the screenwriter obviously learned a thing or two from the previous movie versions and incorporated some of the effective touches from those movies.

The Shirley Temple version is very good at the beginning, then the screenwriter throws the book away, and the chase scenes and the cloak-and-dagger intrigue are not only ineffective but embarrassing.

The 1952 version shortens the story but adds a nice touch of having her Aunt lie to Heidi about being able to return to the mountains.

The 1968 version almost throws the book away and the child is too old for the role, but the scenery and the music are very good.

The 1993 version reproduces most of the story of the book but throws the book away at the end. Also, the characters are totally different, even antithetical, to what they are in the book. I tried watching it a second time just to be sure and I couldn't make it through the movie.

So, this is THE version of the book.

The minor departures are the grandfather's angry reaction when Heidi returns. (Fortunately, this is only momentary.) And the walking. The movie has Clara take her first steps as a result of a situation of danger. Thereafter, however, they do put in the patient physical therapy which the grandfather practices to enable Clara to walk by the end of the summer.

A nice touch is the addition of the doctor's role in Dorfli. None of the other movie versions saw fit to put it in. This movie not only puts it in but shows why it is important. The child who plays Heidi is appealing and close enough in age.
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on October 24, 2006
I loved this version of Johanna Spyri's classic novel. Emma Bolger is so cute and sweet and just how I had always pictured Heidi. This story follows the book better than any I have ever seen. Sometimes it is quite sad - we cried during some scenes. But Max Von Sydow and Emma Bolger show the wonderful relationship between Grandparent and Grandchild. The acting and directing are Superb! I rarely give 5 stars but I certainly will this time.
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on November 9, 2006
I was always a fan of the Shirley Temple version of Heidi because it was sentimental and it touched my heart-strings! I enjoyed this version so much because of the photography, the actors, and as an adult now I felt the story touched broadly on "life" themes of hurt, forgiveness, love and joy of simple living and of life in general....not to mention the happy ending which I'm always a sucker for. Thorougly enjoyable and one I know I'll watch and share over and over again.
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on October 29, 2006
Overall this is our favorite version of Heidi in film. We highly recommend it! Our family watched this movie anticipating the same cutesy antics and departures from the novel as before but were surprised to find this one quite close to the book. It is a bit more somber than the book in my view but this adds a real 19th century feel anyway. Emma Bolger plays Heidi with enough childlike charm, she's not always perfect but her shining eyes and sweet grin helpd me forgive a few tiny flaws in her acting. Max Von Sydow plays Grandfather immaculately with the right amount of grumpiness and compassion. The best performance I think is Del Synott as Sebastian the butler! The only thing I wish the director would have done differently is to spend more time on Heidi's enjoyment in the pastures as is done in the beginning of the book. I would have been delighted to see more expansive views of the Swiss alps also, some of the cinematography is shot closer in with cozier views. I recommend watching this movie then going back to the read the book once again if it has been awhile. It is a truly heartwarming parable.
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on April 22, 2011
The only reason I give this review 3 stars is because it's a decent, conservative, family film about love and nature. The moral of the story, though, as we (my children and I) learned from the book - which we read before watching the movie - is that God answers prayer and forgives us no matter what. This basic foundation of the story that was so carefully included by the original author was completely ignored in this movie. I am so disappointed. I read the reviews before buying to make sure not to buy a "cinderallafied" version, and this accomplished that objective, but it's such a shame that they took God out of the story.
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on August 18, 2006
Beloved tale of the little girl Heidi has been often filmed in the past, and probably the most popular one would be the 1937 `Heidi' film starring lovely Shirley Temple. Now another feature film comes from England, starring Emma Bolger (one of the cute sisters in `In America') as the Swiss girl.

I don't think this famous story needs introduction, but I may be wrong. Just in case you forget it, it is about an orphaned little girl Heidi (Emma Bolger). Heidi is sent to her grandfather `Uncle Alp' (Max von Sydow) who is living like a hermit up in the Alps with two goats. Her grandfather, whose dark past is vaguely suggested, is at first unwilling to welcome her, but no one can resist the charms of her outgoing personality.

The key characters are all there. You will meet Heidi's friend Peter and his blind grandmother, too. And you also remember the inimitable Rottenmeier (played by Geraldine Chaplin) and Clara (Jessica Claridge) and her wheelchair. Diana Rigg also appears as Clara's kind grandmamma. The cast is impressive, to be sure.

So we got what we want. We got the right cast (though you may not like the various accents from the cast), and a very good story from Johanna Spyri (as you know it). And fortunately they didn't change it very much. Plus the film is shot in beautiful countryside of Slovenia (on location) and West Wales (on soundstage). But to me, the entire film is slightly disappointing, lacking the weight or impact that the story as I remember it had given to me long time ago.

Perhaps that is because the film's script follows the original story too fast, omitting the quiet moments that should have made the characters more round. Clara's character and her friendship with Heidi, one of the most touching part of the story, are often overshadowed by awkwardly presented episodes (about the smuggled kittens that annoy poor Rottenmeier) that try to be funny. In fact, for all the film's decent production designs, `Heidi' sometimes looks as if made for TV (which it is not) because of its hurried and episodic storytelling.

Or perhaps the film touches the subject of children's growing-up and education for them too cursorily. Rottenmeier of this film sometimes looks like a theatrical villain (or villainess) from fairy tale, like a witch to be punished, and consequently the film seems to have failed to make a point about one of the most important themes of the original. Of course you don't have to preach - and thank God, `Heidi' is far from preachy, I can assure you - but it is also certain that while director Paul Marcus reminds us of Heidi's illiteracy more than once, the film itself curiously seems unaware of the importance of that.

Or perhaps ... well, let's stop now. The fact is, if her accent is not the most convincing, Emma Bolger still gives a very spirited performance as Heidi, which is pure delight to see. Thanks to her adorable Heidi and the good supports, `Heidi' is a decent (if flawed) family film.
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on March 6, 2011
This movie is fine until it skips through part of "Sunday Bells" and then it jumps right to Heidi recving the letter from Clara. The reason I say it was only "fine" is it messes up on other details as well. I liked being able to share Chistmas with Heidi and Grandfather.
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on May 12, 2010
I purchased this version hoping it would be the best version to date of Johanna Spyri's delightful and thought provoking book. It is not ! The dialog and feel of the film are rather modern and compromise the efforts of the actors/actresses.

The grandmother, played by Diana Rigg is excellent. Fraulein Rottenmeier, played by Geraldine Chaplin (whom I like otherwise), is overplayed and positively villainous. Clara's father is excellent and so is the Doctor. Clara was quite good, convincing and definitely in character.

The goatherd, besides being given ridiculous lines, is a poor actor. Aunt Dete was sulky and peevish, instead of self-centered and nasty. Unfortunately, Emma Bolger as Heidi disappoints. She is not well developed as a young actress. She does not convince one that she is young, innocent, and charming. Simply, she does not bring Heidi to life. It would help if her dialog were more convincing as well. Grandfather was bland, or shallow, one of the two. He was ok, or a little better than ok, that's all. His lack of dialog was not the reason for this. For proof, see the Grandfather in the Shirley Temple version. He says volumes, yet rarely opens his mouth.

Too much drama, not enough innocence and joie de vivre, and a soundtrack that is overdone (perhaps thinking of CD sales ?).
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on May 5, 2011
I, too, was disappointed that they took those wonderful lessons about God (that were so important in the book) out of the movie. :( Those lessons were what made the book so good. In the book, Heidi taught others with her innocent youth and trust in God, through lessons learned and the insightful wisdom of Clara's Grandmother. Then, she passes those lessons on to her Grandfather, which allow him to move on with his life and reenter the town of Dorfli. All of these details are SO important to the book. It is sad that they have been removed from this movie. I will have to watch some other Heidi DVD's to see if any of the others retain that message.

On the plus side, some of the scenery was nice. It is a good safe family movie, but NOT the same, or as good as the book.
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on September 12, 2013
Having just read my childhood copy of Heidi with my Granddaughter, it seemed appropriate to watch the movie, loved this version but just a little dissappointed there was so much skipped over, I know something has to go when fitting into a film length, having said that it was far superior to the 'lollipop' version AND my granddaughter loved it. Will definately recommend
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