Based on the satirical book ‘The Willoughbys’ by author Louis Lowry (author of ‘The Giver’ and ‘Number the Stars’), the new offbeat Netflix movie ‘The Willoughbys’ is currently a top pick for children. This animated adventure movie uses bright, colorful and stunning visuals as well as clever writing to tell the whimsical story of four children utterly neglected by their narcissistic parents.
About ‘The Willoughbys’
Father (voiced by Martin Short) and Mother (Jane Krakowski) adore each other, but that love does not reach their children, the timid oldest child Tim (Will Forte), dreamy Jane (Alessia Cara), and the twins (Sean Cullen) Barnaby and Barnaby, who they didn’t care to give separate names.
Visually, the family is somewhat dark and Tim-Burton-esque with tall, thin, bony features. Narrated by a Cheshire-inspired blue cat (Ricky Gervais) who is also their pet, the story unfolds in an amusing and quirky manner.
After conspiring a plan to rid themselves of their parents, the children set off to make a better life for themselves with the help of their Mary Poppins-inspired nanny Linda (Maya Rudolph), who is stylized as a giant heart with her hair-do, and the Willy Wonka-ish candymaker Commander Melanoff (Terry Crews).
Seeing the story of this dysfunctional, sad family shows what truly makes families work and why families matter so much.
In a time when the whole world feels as cozy at home, this message of discovering family and making connections particularly hits home.
Featured today on Theresa’s Reviews, I’m sharing three lessons children can learn from ‘The Willoughbys.’
Independence might sound fun, but too much of it is lonely.
Although children of all ages try to test boundaries and challenge the rules, this movie makes clear that a lack of parental guidance can be devastating. Father and Mother’s rules only serve themselves with the principles of not bothering them for food, time or affection.
Seeing the neglectful circumstances that the Willoughby children are raised in is a lesson in appreciating the love and guidance that good, thoughtful rules can provide.
We all need support and understanding.
Families matter because the support and understanding they provide is essential. In following the story of the Willoughby children finding an unexpected family, we discover that families can even be who we choose.
Not every idea that sounds good is good.
Although the Willoughby children hatch a plan to rid themselves of their terrible parents forever, they soon discover unforeseen circumstances, and they doubt that their plan was a reasonable choice after all.
Is ‘The Willoughbys’ Appropriate For Kids?
Rated PG, ‘The Willoughbys’ is better for older kids. Younger children might find it too sad because the children have no home, and there are sad, dark themes.
‘The Willoughbys’ is currently available on Netflix.