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The New Pinocchio is Fantastic -- No Lying

Shannon Penrod raves about Disney remake

Pinocchio Disney + A+

For those of you who like my short reviews, let me get right to it. I LOVED THIS PINOCCHIO. It rocked my entire world; it made me laugh, cry, have all the feels, and it healed bruises I didn’t realize I had. You owe it to yourself to see this beautiful film.

Now for the longer version. First let me say, I am not a fan of the original Pinocchio. Yeah, I said it and I meant it. I didn’t see it as a child. The first time I saw it I was an adult, and I was HORRIFIED. It’s some dark $h!# y’all. I truly struggled with how the original could possibly be considered a children’s film. So, I did not start watching the new version with a hope it would all be the same; and it wasn’t. To my relief the new version brought aspects to the story that made it actually work for me. I always thought it was a little creepy that the wood carver wanted his puppet to be a real boy. What was that about? The new version poignantly fixes this. I’m not about spoiler alerts but watch it for yourself.

There is something else this version does that is beyond magical; it challenges our ideas of identity being wrapped in ability. It does this beautifully, repeatedly, softly and with compassion. I can’t say enough about how desperately this is needed. I watched Pinocchio in the same week I watched the Emmys. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how much the Emmy’s focused on inclusion in the telecast. Bravo that...except they forgot to add those with disabilities or different abilities. Ooops. Pinocchio didn’t forget. I am the daughter of a woman who was differently abled, and I am the mother of a son who is differently abled. There has been no part of my life that has not been touched by how the world perceives those who are different. Oddly, it is a story that doesn’t get told much. Pinocchio tells the story in a way that broke down all the defenses I had. I felt seen. People always say when they see a U2 concert that they thought Bono was singing to them, he’s that good. I felt like Pinocchio was singing to me. It was personal and special. How did they do that, you ask? The writing is exquisite. The story telling is brilliant. There were treats at every corner, snippets of my childhood that were delightful, mixed with moments that squeezed my heart so hard I couldn’t breathe. Tom Hanks is beyond perfection. He slayed me. I am dead. When he sends Pinocchio to school – if you are a parent and can watch that scene without feeling the shiver we all feel every day sending our kids to a place we no longer know is 100% safe, I respect your oblivion, but that is what it is. Oye, he tugged all the heartstrings I have. Hanks plays Geppetto with delight and joy and trepidation and pathos. It’s just stunning.

Did I love everything about the movie? No. I struggled with how dark some of the scenes were. I mean the literal absence of light, not mood. I had a hard time seeing some things. I will say that at least once I felt the shift from a dark scene to a light scene and I acknowledge it was a powerful directorial choice; however, I still want to be able to see. Just saying.

Then there is the ending…all I can say is I was surprised and then I cried and I cried…for days. I’m not speaking hyperbolically. I cried for days, every time I talked about the movie water leaked out of my eyes and ran down my face. This movie said something I didn’t even know I needed said. It touched me so profoundly.

I encourage everyone to watch the movie. Drink it in. If you loved the original, accept this as something that is different. If you were never a fan make sure to see this. You will become a fan.

Editor's Note: A good friend and supporter of Brater Agency, Andrew Miano, is one of the film's producers.

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