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UKScreen Rating:

Heidi – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Set more than 100 years ago orphaned Heidi (Bolger) is sent to live with her grumpy grandfather (von Sydow) in the Alps by her Aunt Detie (McLynn).
The old man soon grows to love her. They lead an idyllic life until one day her aunt suddenly returns to claim her back.
She then takes her to the evil Madame Rottenmeier (Chaplin) to be a companion to Clara, (Claridge) her invalid charge.
Despite becoming great friends with the young girl, Heidi yearns to return to the mountains and her grandfather.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

With at least 18 adaptations of Johanna Spyri’s 1880s novel, both on the big and small screen, over the past 85 years, do we really need another? How does this one differ from all the others?
Well, this is the first British film version and probably the first Swiss Heidi with an Irish accent, but that’s were the differences end. The story is firmly set more than 100 years ago and this is a fairly unremarkable adaptation.
There is very little chemistry between Bolger and von Sydow while youngsters Samuel Friend, who plays Heidi’s shepherd friend Peter, and Jessica Claridge give very stiff performances. Bolger is a touch better but with better direction could have given a more delightful and rounded performance.
Chaplin and Rigg are always worth watching and certainly don’t disappoint here. Unfortunately they are not on screen long enough.
This is a very old fashioned film which may appeal to the under-fives rather than the older and more sophisticated kids of today.

HEIDI opens on 19 August 2005

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