Gone are the grownup gatekeepers of movie merit — kids are the audience for the weekly Cinema Circus films. So the Gazette and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival bring you the big view from the smaller viewers with weekly kid critics.
Today almost-fifth-grader Apple Farrelley reviews Frogs and Toads, a 70 minute feature film in Dutch with English subtitles read at this screening by live actors. It screens (along with stilt walkers, unicyclists, trapeze artists and dancing acrobats to entertain you while you enjoy face painting, fortune telling, hula hooping, art activities, lots of bubbles, music, pizza and popcorn) on Wednesday, August 18, at 5 p.m. at the Chilmark Community Center. It’s a prelude to dinner and a movie for the grownups — more on that below.
Frogs and Toads is quite different from the movies I’ve seen before because it is all in Dutch with English subtitles. It’s about a six-year-old named Max, who has a brother named Jannus who is getting his tonsils out. Jannus tells Max that he will never be able to speak again after his operation unless Max can find him some frogspawn (frog eggs). Max stays with his grandmother while Jannus is in the hospital. She is very kind to Max and likes to make him pancakes. She also takes care of sick animals. One day before Max and his grandma go to visit Jannus, Max sneaks out to a nearby pond to search for frogspawn but he doesn’t find any and just gets wet. At the hospital, Jannus gets mad at Max for not having frogspawn so Max runs away and meets a young girl named Jesse. Max lies to Jesse and tells her that he is an orphan.
Jesse is desperate to become a nurse (she even carries a toy nurse’s kit and wears a nurse outfit) and insists that Max become her first patient. After taping him up with Band-Aids, Jesse learns that Max’s grandma is a nurse for sick animals. She decides to come along with Max on his journey so that she can eventually meet his grandma and help the animals. Max and Jesse become fast friends and travel through farms, fields and forests looking for frogspawn and trying to get back to grandma’s house. Along the way, they sing many fun songs about pancakes and animals which I found very entertaining. After awhile Max starts to feel bad about lying to Jesse, so he tells her that he’s not really an orphan. Jesse gets mad at him and goes off on her own. Later on it starts to pour out and Max gets scared. He calls Jesse’s name and they find each other and become friends again. They eventually end up at Max’s grandmother’s house where things work out in a very fun and happy way. There’s also a twist or two but I don’t want to give them away here.
Frogs and Toads is not just about a boy looking for frogspawn, it’s about friendship and honesty and loyalty and hard work. I enjoyed this movie and I recommend it to anyone who can read subtitles. I give it three out of four stars. :)
The main feature for tomorrow night, The Kids Are All Right, screens at 8 p.m. followed by a question and answer session with film director Lisa Cholodenko (High Art and Laurel Canyon) and producer Jeffrey Levy-Hinte: “The film takes an insightful, hilarious look at the complicated modern family. This daring reflection centers on a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), their teenage children, and the figure that was always present but never there, their sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo). When the children reach out to their ‘bio-dad,’ a bewildering new chapter begins. Family ties are defined, redefined, and then re-redefined again.”
Dinner is available from 7 p.m.