Because of Winn-Dixie (film)
Because of Winn-Dixie is a 2005 American family comedy-drama film based on Kate DiCamillo's 2000 novel of the same name, with the screenplay written by Joan Singleton, produced by Trevor Albert and directed by Wayne Wang. It was produced by Walden Media and released by 20th Century Fox. The role of Winn-Dixie was played by two Picardy Shepherds, a rare breed from France. It stars AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Luke Benward, Dave Matthews, Eva Marie Saint, Courtney Jines, BJ Hopper, Nick Price, Elle Fanning, Harland Williams and John McConnell. The film premiered at the USA Film Festival on January 26, 2005 and was theatrically released on February 18, 2005. It received mixed reviews from critics and earned $33.6 million on a $14 million budget. Because of Winn-Dixie was released on DVD and VHS on August 9, 2005, by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
|Because of Winn-Dixie|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wayne Wang|
|Produced by||Trevor Albert|
|Screenplay by||Joan Singleton|
|Based on||Because of Winn-Dixie|
by Kate DiCamillo
|Music by||Rachel Portman|
|Cinematography||Karl Walter Lindenlaub|
|Edited by||Deirdre Slevin|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|January 26, 2005 (USA Film Festival)|
February 18, 2005
|Box office||$33.6 million|
10-year-old India Opal Buloni has just moved to the fictional small town of Naomi, Florida with her father, a preacher.
While in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, Opal encounters a scruffy Berger Picard that is wreaking havoc. Opal (not wanting the store manager to send the dog to the pound) claims that it is her dog and names it "Winn-Dixie". Winn-Dixie becomes friends with everyone he encounters, and so Opal makes some new friends in the process. She also rekindles her relationship with her father, and learns ten things about her mother, who abandoned them seven years ago. Opal describes the preacher as a turtle, always sticking his head into his turtle shell, and never wanting to come out into the real world. This is most likely because of how sad he is about her mother, with whom he is still in love.
One of the people Opal meets is Miss Franny Block, a kind and somewhat eccentric elder librarian, who tells her many great stories, including one involving a bear. Opal also meets Gloria Dump, a blind recovering alcoholic with a tree in her backyard that has beer bottles hanging from it. She calls it a 'mistake tree' and the bottles represent the ghosts of all the things she has done wrong. One day, fed up with Winn-Dixie, the landlord of the Bulonis' trailer park, Mr. Alfred, orders the preacher to get rid of the dog. The preacher calls the animal pound to take Winn-Dixie away, but Opal begs her father to keep her dog. Unable to see his daughter this upset, the preacher tells the pound to return Winn-Dixie, claiming that he is not the same dog he called about.
Opal gets a job at Gertrude's Pets and befriends a worker there, Otis, a shy ex-convict with a passion for music. She also meets a young girl named Sweetiepie Thomas, who is eager to get a dog like Winn-Dixie. Later, a thunderstorm comes and Winn-Dixie, being pathologically afraid of thunderstorms, runs away. While Opal looks for him, her father wants to give up and she blames him for the loss of her mother and Winn-Dixie running away. But her father explains that he tried very hard to look for her mother. He then admits that he believes that she is never coming back. Later they go back to a party and Otis starts to sing a song on his guitar. Winn-Dixie is heard outside howling along to the song. Everyone, while singing, lets him in and welcomes him back.
- AnnaSophia Robb as India Opal Buloni
- Jeff Daniels as "The Preacher", Opal's father, Mr. Buloni
- Cicely Tyson as Gloria Dump
- Luke Benward as Steven "Stevie" Dewberry
- Dave Matthews as Otis
- Eva Marie Saint as Ms. Franny Block
- Courtney Jines as Amanda Wilkinson
- BJ Hopper as Mr. Alfred
- Nick Price as Dunlap Dewberry
- Elle Fanning as Sweetiepie Thomas
- Becca Lish as Gertrude the Parrot (voice)
- Lyco and Scott as Winn-Dixie
The movie based on the book was released in 2005. It was directed by Wayne Wang; produced by Trevor Albert, Walden Media, and Joan Singleton; distributed by 20th Century Fox; with music composed by Rachel Portman. It stars AnnaSophia Robb as India Opal Buloni, Jeff Daniels as "The Preacher", Opal's father, Mr. Buloni, Cicely Tyson as Gloria Dump, Luke Benward as Steven "Stevie" Dewberry, Dave Matthews as Otis, Eva Marie Saint as Ms. Franny Block, Courtney Jines as Amanda Wilkinson, BJ Hopper as Mr. Alfred, Nick Price as Dunlap Dewberry, Elle Fanning as Sweetie Pie Thomas, Harland Williams as Policeman, John McConnell as Store Manager, Becca Lish as Gertrude the Parrot, and two dogs, Lyco and Scott as Winn-Dixie.
The film was shot on location in Napoleonville, Louisiana, with some shooting in Gibson, Louisiana, USA. To make sure both dogs got on well with AnnaSophia Robb, who played Opal, she was brought in early to get acquainted with the dogs and give them treats. By the time shooting started, they considered her a "safe" area. Winn-Dixie was played by multiple Picardy Shepherds, a rare breed from France. The DVD extra "Diamond in the Ruff" shows the two principal dogs, Scott and Lyco, but producer Trevor Albert mentions in the DVD feature commentary that, in all, four dogs were used. In the featurette "Meet Winn-Dixie" AnnaSophia Robb mentions that the stunt dog Tasha jumped over the flour. The film's mouse was played by a rat. The choice was made carefully because while a mouse would have been preferable, rats are much easier to train.
Director Wayne Wang wanted to use Picardy Shepherds because he thought they looked similar to the depiction of Winn-Dixie on the book cover and would appear familiar to its readers. Dogs were brought from France when none were available in the U.S. The film, like the book, is set in Naomi, Florida, even though it was filmed in Louisiana. Consequently, the police car and uniform emblems depict the state of Florida rather than the state of Louisiana. The bunny that Otis hands Opal (at around 56 mins) is a Netherland Dwarf. They only get to be between 6 and 8 inches long.
- "Opal's Blues" – The Be Good Tanyas
- "Won't Give In – The Finn Brothers
- "Splish Splash" – Adam Schlesinger and James Iha
- "Sunflower" – Alice Peacock
- "The Clapping Song" – Shirley Ellis
- String Quartet #17 ("Hunt")
- "Butterfly" – Dave Matthews
- "Sunrise" – Norah Jones
- "Cabaret" – Emmylou Harris
- "Glory Glory" – AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews, Eva Marie Saint, Courtney Jines, Nick Price, Luke Benward, Elle Fanning and B.J. Hopper
- "Glory Glory" – Patrinell Wright and Gloria Smith
- "Someday Somehow (Have It All) – The Beu Sisters
- "Fly" – Shawn Colvin
- "Amazing Grace" – Rachel Portman
The film was released in cinemas in the USA on January 26, 2005, and was released on DVD and VHS on August 9, 2005, by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 55% based on 121 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's consensus was: "An old-fashioned, if bland, adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's novel." At Metacritic, the film holds a score of 54% based on 27 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
|Young Artist Awards 2006 Best book awards||Best Performance in a Feature Film (Comedy or Drama) – Leading Young Actress – Best Family Feature Film – Comedy or Musical||AnnaSophia Robb||Nominated|