13. Secondhand Lions
My parents watched this movie a few years before they allowed us three girls to see it. After viewing it, I understood my mother’s nervousness about some of the violence. However, I loved this tale of maturing and hope. Plus, who doesn’t love lions? This ranks up with one of my favorite films because of its touching yet humorous moments.
Synopsis: Once again, Walter’s mom is leaving him alone. This time, the young boy finds himself with his two cranky uncles who don’t even have a TV much less any idea about how to take care of a kid. However, townsfolk whisper that Hub and Garth, the uncles, hid away a stash of money. Slowly, Walter convinces his uncles to spend some cash and enjoy life. Meanwhile, they begin to give the tween care he has never received. Many adventures occur throughout the summer such as a pet lion, airplanes and shooting at annoying salesmen.
Recovery Pluses: Hub and Garth grumble about Walter at first. However, we soon see the positive impact they have on him and he on them. The negative affect of Walter’s mother, on the other hand, wilts the boy’s confidence and hope. Thus, this movie shows the importance of caring parents and friends. We need encouraging people to help us through life. Also, the end of the film reveals the impact you can have on every life you encounter.
Throughout the movie, the characters learn to trust each other and hope for the future. Walter and Garth both dealt with loss and disappointments. However, they choose to move on and look toward the future while still mourning the past. Sometimes they choose to do so in unwise ways but at least they are trying to figure out how to live a good full life instead of staying stuck in depression.
Walter learns from his uncles what love, family, respect, and joy mean. We watch this boy transform from a silent frightened child into a courageous young man who stands up for what is right even in the face of danger. The uncles also soften and open themselves up to others. As they welcome Walter into their home, they change for the better and become much happier.
Cautions: Despite my mother’s anxiety, this movie is not awfully objectionable. The uncles swear occasionally and several scenes involve them fighting. Most of the moments of violence are comedic. However, one is more serious and involves an older man threatening Walter. This could be very frightening for children and disturbed my mom greatly. Walter’s mother deserts him and treats him with little kindness but this is portrayed in a negative light.
Secondhand Lions not only makes me laugh but also gives me hope in other people. Daring to live more fully, the characters learn from each other and grow into more loving family members. I agree with my mother that I would not have been ready to watch this as a little girl. The emotions are too strong in parts and the violence would have frightened me because of my sensitivity. Yet, I now enjoy this film a great deal and would recommend it to anyone. If you are looking for a few laughs, lighter mood, or dose of hope, Secondhand Lions is a good movie to watch.