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The Watsons Go To Birmingham 2013

TV-PG CC

Based on the bestselling book, the film chronicles an African American family from Flint, Michigan, and how they are drastically changed while visiting Grandma in Alabama during the height of the civil rights movement in the summer of 1963.

Starring:
Bryce Clyde Jenkins, Harrison Knight
Runtime:
1 hour, 26 minutes

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By Cheryle Katribe on January 12, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Don't be scared off by the PG rating on this movie. Most kids see more violence and hear more bad language on network television than is in this movie. The main episode of violence is at the end of the movie relating to the Birmingham church bombing in which 4 little Black girls were killed.

The characters are portrayed excellently by wonderful actors. Even though I have read the book many times, the characters weren't that far off from how I had pictured them in my mind. Most of the important events were included in the film, but remember some events had to be cut so the movie wouldn't last 6 hours.

I'm using the movie and the book with 3rd and 4th grade gifted and talented students to give background on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and in conjunction with Black History Month. It really gives a true picture of what blacks experienced back then. Of course, I received parental permission from every student's parent prior to showing the movie. Parents were given an opportunity to view the movie prior to giving permission because of the PG rating.
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Format: DVD
This powerful, historical fiction takes place in 1963. The plot follows our protagonist Kenny (Bryce Clyde Jenkins) and his African American family from their house in Flint, Michigan to their family home in Birmingham, Alabama. While in Alabama, Kenny and his siblings are introduced to segregation and all its inhumanity. In Michigan they lived free from sequestration except for what they experienced on TV. This film is seeded with real life situations and old black and white clips that are sewn together quite skillfully.

What I love about the film is the outstanding acting. The kids couldn't be better. The characters go through so much they're able to express a lot of emotion and does it show! I don't know if you've noticed, but there have been a lot of films about segregation this year; 42, Lee Daniels The Butler and more to come. What makes this film stand out is that the story is from 10-year-old Kenny's perspective. When we view the world through a black adult's eyes, we know they've probably experienced segregation. From a child's level, we see they can't comprehend why they're treated poorly because of their skin color. That's what makes it more powerful.

My favorite character is Kenny. I relate to him because he's sort of a nerd, kindhearted and in this film, confused. I like to see how he deals with the different situations he's placed in. Jenkins does a tremendous job portraying this character.

My favorite scene is when Kenny almost drowns. Kenny is swimming in the lake and gets sucked down into a whirlpool. Luckily, his brother Byron (Harrison Knight) saves him. This scene is intense and I got a little teary-eyed when Byron embraces Kenny and won't let go.

The moral is, "You can't live your life in fear and live a good life.
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Format: DVD
The Watsons Go To Birmingham

This shameful and horrifying historical episode has been turned into a wonderfully thoughtful and touching movie. I'm amazed that the script-writers were able to turn this powerful book into an equally powerful movie. And as the father of a 12-year old girl, I'm pleased that I can now introduce this shameful moment in American history to my daughter in a way that will move her and raise her consciousness without horrifying her in the way that the real incident horrified those of us who were young when it happened. Kudos to all involved with the project.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This book was on the summer reading list for my children's school, and I'm so glad because we loved this book. My sons ages 9 and 11 found it an exciting read (they especially liked that it had curse words in it--don't worry parents, it was just the d-word and some slang) and enjoyed getting to know the characters. I loved the way the book engaged with the historical period in an age appropriate manner and did not shirk away from the dark realities of that time in American history. SPOILER ALERT In the story's climax, the Watson family comes into direct contact with the Birmingham church bombing. David Alan Grier has deftly balanced this encounter with harsh reality: he does not condescend to young readers nor does he make the story so dark that parents will find it inappropriate. I'm glad that I also read the book so that our family could talk about the literary aspects of the book (including some magical realism) and about America's history of racial segregation, the Civil Rights movement, the courageous people who moved our country towards racial equality, and the ways we can continue this work today.
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Format: DVD
I am definitely not a cheek turnning Negroe...Very much Muhammad Ali "You kill my dog you better hide your Cat" Kind of Man...The Marching and "let the law prevail" ain't going to work for us in this day jack, sorry..."Obey ALL LAWS, but if A Man put his Hands on you, do your best to make certain he don't put his hands on Anyone else EVER again"... "Marching and getting your head Split open just to sit down next to him on a Toilet..flush him down with the rest of that stuff" Malcom X LOL

With that out the way I'd Highly recommend this Movie for the simple fact of it's Positive portrayal of an entact, Functional Black Family with Well Spoken Down to Earth FATHER and Mother raising their Three BEAUTIFUL children. The onslaught of Slave Movies, Negroe Bed Wenches and Disgusting Negative images of Black people in the Media.."The Watsons" are like Fresh Clean Air and Sweet Water... A Movie you won't feel ashamed or nervous to watch with your sons and daughters. I love the fact that the Heart of the Movie focuses on FAMILY and not so much the Civil Rights movement--in fact there were a number of Black MEN in Birmingham ready to "put in work" and knew Exactly who was responsible for the Bombing.. They weren't running scared Victims.... Don't worry, we'll produce our CLASSIC Nat Turner Movie :)...but The Watsons remains "Fairly Neutral" for what it is.. which allows those in the Black community with more Progressive ideas and workable solutions to not have to work as hard to reprogram themselves and their children after watching this film.

I will be purchasing several copies of the DVD..I LOVE it that much and so does my Daughter.
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