Author: uhh, we'll go with Disney
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: ****
Age Group: 10+ (might be a bit on the strict side)
Official Rating: PG
My Summary: Scene: New York City. Enter: News boys, ages ranging from 7-18ish. Dancing around and singing and slurring with their NYC accents.
When things got tough, the news boys (newsies) went on strike. The movie doesn't necessarily stay true to history, but it had a better ending anyway.
Jack Kelly (Christian Bale) is the unofficial leader of the newsies. He's the best of the best, he's cool, and he's smart. To top it all off, he's going to Santa Fe. But when he meets David, David's sister, and David's little brother, things change. Suddenly, Jack finds himself leading a strike and struggling to keep things organized. He's a leader at heart, yes, but only in the sense that everyone will follow him and he's cool. He clearly lacks the brains to run the operation, but everyone is depending on him. Things get rough, fights break out, Spot from Brooklyn appears, and the police get involved. Can Jack possibly win this battle, or will things fall apart?
And if the story doesn't get you, how about the newsies ages 7-18 jumping around and dancing and singing and pretty much just going wild and having a great time? How about Spot and his men and their slingshots? Perhaps Christian Bale (Batman, Laurie/Teddy, others) will draw you in for the ride? Whatever it is that attracts you to the movie, you won't be disappointed. It's a great adventure.
Word of Warning: This isn't historically accurate. I believe the news boys did not succeed in the real story, but this isn't supposed to be a history lesson anyway.
When speaking on what sells "papes", Jack mentions that the word "nude" in a headline will do it. It is a passing reference and not dwelt upon. There are fist fights, a boxing match in the public square, the newsies sneak into a basement and use a press that does not belong to them, and the newsies routinely "improve" headlines (or stories) by stretching the truth until sometimes it is barely recognizable.
A woman wears gowns with very low-cut neck lines, wears heavy make-up, and is clearly quite attractive to men who come to watch her sing (and the newsies too) and she obviously intends it to be that way. Off stage she is a sweet woman who is motherly to Jack, but perhaps the most disappointing part is that the newsies all attend one of her shows and are quite enchanted by her.
The movie opens with the boys in long underwear and they sing a number as they get ready for the day, washing their faces, jumping into the tub (with their underwear on), and shaving. It is carefree and not meant to be sexual in any way, simply a realistic scene.
SPOILER: Jack lies about his name, his parents, and breaks out of an orphanage. He does not appear to see anything wrong with his lies but David clearly does and says so.
Note on the Author: Unfortunately, I know nothing about the author here.