Because of Winn-Dixie is quite possibly the best movie yet from Walden Media, the company created by Christian billionaire Philip Anschutz for the express purpose of making film adaptations of acclaimed children's books like Holes and I Am David. And while the world waits with breathless anticipation to see how Walden's upcoming adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe turns out, Because of Winn-Dixie may be their most "Christian" effort to date.

Newcomer AnnaSophia Robb plays Opal, who befriends a stray dog

Newcomer AnnaSophia Robb plays Opal, who befriends a stray dog

Based on a Newbery Honor-winning book by Kate DiCamillo, the film concerns a girl who has just moved to a small Florida town with her preacher father, and the stray dog the girl picks up at a Winn-Dixie grocery store—hence the dog's name. The dog is filthy and unkempt, and what's more, he has a knack for throwing things into disarray. But Opal (newcomer AnnaSophia Robb) persuades her father, whom she refers to as "the Preacher" (Jeff Daniels), to take the dog into their trailer.

At first the girl and the mutt are just two lonely individuals who have only each other for companionship, but it isn't long before Winn-Dixie is dragging Opal from one new and unexpected destination to another, inadvertently introducing her to new friends of all ages. First, they visit a pet store manned by a guitar-playing drifter named Otis (Dave Matthews). Otis refuses to deal with Opal and her furry friend at first, but when he asserts that the store's resident parrot hates dogs, the bird proves him wrong by coming to rest on Winn-Dixie's head—so Otis relents.

Opal and Winn-Dixie get in a bit of reading

Opal and Winn-Dixie get in a bit of reading

Images like these make it tempting to think of Winn-Dixie as a Christ figure, not unlike his canine compatriot in My Dog Skip; in an earlier scene, Opal had given Winn-Dixie a thorough washing in an inflatable swimming pool, ...

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Because of Winn-Dixie
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
(6 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG (for thematic elements and brief mild language)
Directed By
Wayne Wang
Run Time
1 hour 46 minutes
Cast
AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews
Theatre Release
February 18, 2005 by 20th Century Fox
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