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Children On Their Birthdays

4.3 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A young girl and her mother arrive into a small town and set of a sequence of events that change the town forever. Stars Christopher McDonald, Tania Raymonde, Tom Arnold; directed by Mark Medoff, based on a short story by Truman Capote. Celine Dion perf

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Fans of film adaptations of Truman Capote's original fiction will delight in the familiar terrain of Southern nostalgia and wide-eyed yearning that defines Children on Their Birthdays. Based on a Capote story, this 2002 feature stars Joe Pichler as Billy Bob, a boy whose post-World War II horizons broaden considerably with the arrival of Lilly Jane (Tania Raymonde), a glistening idealist and would-be Hollywood starlet, in his Medda, Alabama, neighborhood. So exotic, erudite, and almost recklessly expansive is Lilly Jane that she lights a fire of progressive thought (or perhaps truer courtesy) in the habitually racist community, inspiring Billy Bob to outgrow his narrow boyhood. Typical of Capote, there is something of the Dying Swan about Lilly Jane, but her Mystery is genuine and affecting. Playwright Mark Medoff directs with conviction but little skill; the film is saved by pure heart and a solid cast, including Sheryl Lee and Christopher McDonald. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Making-of Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Sheryl Lee, Christopher McDonald, Tom Arnold, Joe Pichler, Tania Raymonde
  • Directors: Mark Medoff
  • Writers: Douglas Sloan, Truman Capote
  • Producers: Billy Higgins, Ginger T. Perkins, Howard Baldwin, Karen Elise Baldwin, Nick Zuvic
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 22, 2003
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008J2OS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,729 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Children On Their Birthdays" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maureen A. Blake on January 17, 2004
Format: DVD
I never heard ANYTHING at all about this movie which my husband brought home from a clearance rack. It turned out to be the BEST film I have seen in the past year!! The dialogue was realistic and masterfully done, with a terrific cast of child actors, and wonderful direction that reminded me of "The Wonder Years" television show, all topped of with the beautiful voice of Celine Dion's music enhancing the movie. The movie was funny, engaging, moving , and full of substance as it delt with truly valuable issues and lessons in life through the unfolding of the story in a non-didactic but enjoyable manner.(Such as capacity for some to grow and change,fear of change and the unknown, particularlly when in comes to racism, and reparation for wrongs.) This is a family film that is not to be missed, although I do think it is suitable for children ages 8 and up as younger children wouldn't understand or apprechiate its content. (There is however nothing OBJECTIONABLE for younger kids) I do happen to agree that one reason that this was not a box office hit is because of the casting of the main character. Although she is a remarkably talented actress and I personally loved her execution of every line of her role, both my husband, and my son independently stated that they found the supporting actresses to be MUCH more physically attractive than her. For them, despite all the issues of SUBSTANCE in the film, that one cosmetic fact did affect the credibility of all the town boys having the big crush on the lead character (when they found the other girls to be so much cuter!) Considering the typical shallowness of what sells in theaters, this movie didn't meet that criteria of having a convincingly georgous leading girl whose trailers alone will bring people to the box office. If people HAD heard of this movie and had it gotten ANY media attention, it would undoubtedly have been a huge hit!
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Format: DVD
Reviewers who complain about the lead's acting miss the point - it isn't the actress whose acting is unnatural, it's the character of Lily who is pretending to be something she isn't. Raised by a mother who is unable to speak while moving from town to town on the edge of respectability, she has developed an elaborate fantasy world. Her accent, her mannerisms, and her vocabulary are all part of her attempt to pretend her way out of a rather sad life. She is a strange girl with a great imagination and a good heart even if she is prone to self-delusion. In the song she sings at the end, she lets us know that she is aware that her hopes are little more than a fantasy, but she justifies clinging to them as she sings, "You see the tarnish, I see the gleam... I have to dream."

One has the sense that the boys like her because she is unusual, because they are young enough to be taken in a little bit by her put-on glamour, and also because they want to help her. She is very much the same character as Holly Go-Lightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, another short story by Truman Capote that was made into a movie, and another story that was made less gritty in the film version.

It is unrealistic when Lila's outburst in church causes people to reconsider restricting the black members of the congregation to the balcony, as the adults would have been more likely to scold her and rationalize away her concerns, but I still found her righteous indignation heartening. The character of Lily is not too perfect to be real however - her first attempt to bridge the racial divide in her community is not as successful.
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By A Customer on April 30, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Of course I heard about this movie because of the title song "I have to dream" which is sung by Celine. A beautiful song it is brings contrast to a wonderful protrayal of characters in this movie.
I bought the movie despite it did not fair well in the box office, which I feel is due to limited showings. Anyway the main character, Lilly Jane is hilarious. This was a pleasant and family oriented movie that adults and children can enjoy. A great movie to watch over holidays or days that children have to stay indoors. Give the movie a viewing. I think it is needed in this day of violent, sex, and objectional material placed in front of innocent children.
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Great movie and good for the family also. Puts a smile on your face. Brings you back to your childhood romances. A must see, if you don't order this movie you are missing out on a blessing for you heart. I will be watching this over and over. Brings you spirits up.
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I got this because I am a huge Sheryl Lee fan! She is great in this movie, although hearing her speak with a southern accent is alittle disconcerting. This is a good movie that you can watch with your kids- I think there may be just one swear word in the whole film and there's no sex scenes. A good film with a good cast!
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Format: DVD
I was walking through the movie rental place as usual not able to find one that sounded the least bit entertaining to me and then this one caught my eye. At first I looked just because the little girl on the front (Lily Jane) was really pretty. Then I read the back of the video and it sounded really good. Lily Jane (the main girl in the movie) is a little strange but she brings the whole movie together. And the little boy (Billy Bob) was the sweetest guy ever!!!!!! This is the most amazing movie and I really recommend it for anyone who is looking for something entertaining.
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