Monday, November 7, 2022

Movie Review: News of the World

News of the World is a western drama movie in which a Civil War veteran finds himself responsible for an orphaned child. Both girl and man have suffered great losses and face many continued dangers traveling the across the southwest with a goal of taking her home to reunite with family. Since he's taking her to Texas, he may finally return to his own home. At one point, he says, "We all have demons to face going down this road".  This movie is beautifully acted and set in a rugged, wild setting. 


Years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has not yet returned home to San Antonio. Instead, he travels by horseback from town to town reading the news to those who would pay ten cents. He is welcomed and paid for his readings. In small towns, often with either people who cannot read or towns so remote that news from the outside world is rare, his reading is information and entertainment. The country is still torn with settlers taking Indian lands, Indians killing the settlers, the military killing the Indians, and settlers clashing against each other. But the Captain travels alone and minds his own business. At least until the day he finds a hanged man who had been transporting a young Kiowa girl. Her blonde hair and her agency orders inform the Captain that this Kiowa girl was abducted six years ago and is now being returned home to her biological family. As he is at the scene of this ruined wagon and murdered man, the military rides up. They question the Captain and allow him to go. They advise him to fetch her to Red River to the command post. And he does. The glitch is that Captain Kidd is informed there that the next Indian agent in line to take responsibility of the child is not due to return to the area for months. Captain is expected to care for her until that time.

We soon learn that no one wants this child. She no longer speaks English or German. Only one other person they come across speaks Kiowa. Most people consider her to be wild and treat her as such. No one wants her except for the one group of men who want her for nefarious reasons. 

Can Caption Kidd keep her safe and help her find home? Can young Cicada/Johanna find a place in the world and a family of her own? Will the Captain return to his home? These questions will be answered as they battle would-be kidnappers during an out-gunned shootout, roadside desperados, a dust storm, and long days of travel across the dry and rugged Texas terrain.

I enjoyed this movie very much. It deals with issues of grief and loss. And finding family after family is gone. It deals with how people respond to children who are different and how different cultures view each other. Young actress Helena Zengel was mesmerizing. She seemed to be genuinely experiencing the loss, fear, uncertainty, and return of memories during their travels. Tom Hanks' performance was wonderful but there was one occasion that I was taken back to his role in Saving Private Ryan. Regardless, the pairing of Hanks and Zengel was amazing and both were perfect for those roles.

There are bonus sections at the end of the DVD version of the movie that I also enjoyed. The bonus sections included outtakes, interviews, behind the scenes, and commentary by the writer-director. My favorite was the section showing the Kiowa tribe members who came to tutor actress Zengel and to be a part of the movie. 

This movie is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Amazon Prime Video.





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8 comments:

  1. Thank you for this recommendation. I love it when someone finds something that is really interesting and family friendly. I will be on the look out for this movie to share with my family!

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  2. You always find such interesting movies, Dawn Rae. From your review, "News of the World" sounds like a worthy recommendation. And, as far as I'm concerned, anything starring Tom Hanks is well worth watching.

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  3. What an interesting career! It never occurred to me that people in remote towns or who were illiterate would need someone to read the news to them, yet it makes perfect sense. I guess I just never thought about it before. It certainly sounds like it was fortuitous that Johanna met Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. Your review alone shares how she could have had a devastating, perhaps deadly encounter without him there. Thanks for the great movie recommendation.

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  4. Thank you for this excellent movie review and recommendation! I love Tom Hanks’ performances and it sounds as though Helena Zengel gave a superb performance as well, especially for an actress so young. The bonus section with special features sounds wonderful, especially the interviews with the Kiowa tribe members who tutored young Helena.

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  5. I have seen this wonderful movie and absolutely loved it! Brilliant script and very well acted. Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors and gave an amazing performance and Helena Sengal was excellent. Reading your review now makes me want to see it again :)

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  6. Fran and I saw this move, and loved it. Excellent review of this movie, we should watch it again!! Thanks Dawn

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  7. I have considered watching this movie before and most likely will now based on your review. Of course, I love Tom Hanks, and very much appreciate films with important themes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about News of the World. Always helpful to read a review written by someone whose opinions you trust and value.

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  8. This movie sounds very good. I tend to avoid movies where children experience the pain of loss, or any other severe pain or fear - my heart just can't take that, even in a fiction situation - but your review has me wanting to actually watch this one

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