This movie was panned far and wide. Roger Ebert hate, hate, hated this movie and called it the worst movie of the year, but “North” was against pretty stiff competition in the form of ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Forrest Gump’. He called the film painfully unfunny and pointed out jokes that he considered to be racist. After viewing this film, I can understand that perspective, but I don’t think that Roger Ebert viewed the film in the right frame of mind. The story isn’t being told by an adult for the pleasure of critics. It is being told by a nine year old boy who is unhappy with his parents and is a smart yet naive child. While Ebert thought it was a terrible movie to be aimed at children, I wholeheartedly disagree. When I first saw this film, I was a little older than the title character. At this age, I didn’t think that the jokes were racist, and I laughed a lot throughout the film. Ultimately, the message is simple and a good one at that. But, before I delve into the message of the film, I will discuss its plot.
North (played by Elijah Wood) is your normal well above average child prodigy who feels invisible when he’s around his parents. As other parents shower praise upon him, his parents (played by Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) fight often. North is so tired of the situation that he decides to divorce his parents. To show that he is a good kid, he gives them one more chance, but his parents fail. North then divorces his parents who fall into a deep coma because they are so surprised by the news.
Then, North begins his search for new parents which begins in Texas, but they try to turn North into their first son who died in a stampede. North decides that he doesn’t want that, so he moves to the next group of parents in Hawaii who plan to place him on billboards across the main land, but North is rather exposed in the ad. After this, he decides to move on again and again. Towards the end of each parent trial, he meets Bruce Willis in some form or another who guards and protects him (Willis also narrates the film). Over time, North comes to the conclusion that he should give his parents another chance and heads back to where they are. However, in a bizarre yet amusing plot twist, North finds his life to be in danger, but he is able to re-unite with his parents just as someone is about to shoot him.
At this point, North wakes up, and the whole sequence is revealed to have been a dream. However, when North goes home, his parents embrace him, and it is assumed that their relationship improves. This tale actually represents a good point for children because it shows that parents are not perfect. Even if you were to search far and wide, children would have a tough time finding significantly better parents in many cases (clearly, this isn’t always true). While I am a rarity, I really enjoyed this movie and do still. Honestly, how often are you going to see Bruce Willis in a pink bunny suit? Really, think about that. If not for anything else, ‘North’ is worth seeing just for that.