Confinement puts families to the test, between working at a distance (or not), school at home, and everything in between. Video-on-demand services, which provide sometimes welcome breaks to households, are working harder to woo family audiences. They trump record numbers in this favorable period for screens.
As Disney + surpassed 50 million subscribers, Netflix attracted 16 million new members in three months, reaching a total of 183 million subscribers worldwide. The latter offers two animated films that seem to have been cut to meet the emotional roller coasters that families are currently experiencing.
“The Willoughby Family”, a tale for unwise parents
The first, The Willoughby Family, by Kris Pearn, is a novelty from across the Atlantic that seeks to reproduce the uniqueness of the children’s book by American author Lois Lowry, from which it is taken.
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Abandoned by their parents – a selfish couple entirely centered on themselves -, the four Willoughby children come to hope of becoming… orphans! They then push their parents to go around the world of the most dangerous countries, a journey so perilous that children are prohibited. But things obviously don’t go as planned …
Peeping from the side of Mary Poppins or from Charlie and the chocolate factory, this tale for unwise parents adopts a more creaky tone than its illustrious references. In tart and saturated hues, this computer-generated film reproduces the tangible textures of the animation in volume, but leaves an artificial taste in the mouth, as its scenario is flawed and its message clumsily formulated.
“My neighbors the Yamada”, hilarious family chronicle
If the adopted family is the cure for failing parenting for the little Willoughbys, among the Yamada, everything is good to take. In My neighbors the Yamada (1999), Isao Takahata, co-founder of the Ghibli studio, writes a hilarious and poetic chronicle of the life of a modern Japanese family.
Adapted from a manga whose simple graphics it reproduces, this cartoon depicts with extraordinary acuteness of observation three generations living under the same roof, laughing at each other’s faults while showing the strength of their ties. Or to contradict Gide: families, I love you, despite everything!