G P Padillo | Portland, ME United States | 09/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As has been noted, this is an allegorical film and people will often divide down the middle over allegories. If you appreciate them and like digging beneath the surface, this is a remarkable film in a great many regards. Even as just a basic tale, the film works and is given outstanding performances by the three principal actors. Not enough good can be said about Christian Bale, who is maturing one of the finest actors we have today. Here, Bale is playing his exact age, 24, but looks no more than 17. As Bobby is mildly retarded due to a childhood accident of which he has more than one scar to serve as reminder, he is eternally a boy trapped in a man's body. When it comes to playing "damaged goods" Bale pulls off the nearly impossible, making you forget the actor and see only the character. (This was my primary difficulty with Forrest Gump, where everything seemed to draw attention to Mr. Hanks' brilliant "acting.")
Bobby isn't too dim to sense the evil of his stepfather "The Fat" aka Mr. De Winter, and upon his mother's death, realizes the man is out to do him serious harm. By refusing to sign over to The Fat, his inheritances, including the family's successful London department store, Bobby has sealed his fate. The Fat is going to have him declared mad and institutionalized for the remainder of his life. Bobby escapes the mansion, and wends his way towards Cornwall in search of his grandfather. The journey is brief, but symbolic as he finds rides along the trek, a young, hippy family in a van, complete with happy little dog, and an odious trucker whose zest for killing animals in the road causes his death. Wanting to help the trapped, barely alive trucker we stumble upon Mr. Summers (John Hurt) an odd hermit with a few affectations and full of mystery. An unlikely relationship develops between the two men, as Bobby finally finds the father figure denied him all his life. Summers takes Bobby in and instructs him in "The Work" - caring for the burial of animals killed at the hands (and wheels) of man. These scenes, shot in and around Cornwall, are dazzling . . . breathtakingly beautiful.
Inevitably their idyllic existence gives way to the reemergence of The Fat and confrontation, danger, resolution and acceptance. It's a beautiful tale of good versus evil and innocence versus cunning. The acting is uniformly excellent, with a truly stunning performance by Mr. Bale. "
Beautiful and real
email@example.com | Phoenix, AZ USA | 08/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is visually stunning and a must see for animal lovers. It seems to be presented through Bobby's eyes which makes it refreshingly innocent and very honest. I attribute any fairytale-like moments to be the way Bobby really saw them in his childish way. It is a movie the likes of which I don't see very often. It makes no attempts to please it's audience by adding stupid things to the plot in an effort to make it more exciting. Christian Bale is amazing and unbelievably convincing. The fact that he does not overplay Bobby's disability as many actors would, adds to the brilliance of this piece."
All The Little Animals--A must See For Animal Lovers
BenJ Cody | United States | 06/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the kind of movie you don't see alot of. Movies that touch our hearts in such a way that we love it. If you love animals and have a heart for them as I do, this is a film for you. A boy who is slower than us, is abused by hs father after the mother dies, and runs away. He meets a man who loves animals, and buries the bodies of raodkill on the sides of the road. They love each ocher, i'll leave the rest for you to see"
Rediscovering "All the Little Animals"
vickie marmelstein | DC area | 04/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was flipping idly around the movie channels one Sunday in May 2002, and paused on a scene of two men walking through beautiful rural countryside. Something about this seemed to remind me of something. I continued watching, and when the topic of burying roadkill came up, I was hit all at once with the memory of a book I'd read in the early 70s when a young teen. I checked the info channel - sure enough, this was a movie version of that book, written by British author Hamilton. The book had been such a favorite of mine at that time that I'd re-read it a number of times and now, as I watched the movie, small passages and bits of dialog came rushing back. The oddest, most miraculous thing was that until this accidental discovery of the movie, I don't think I'd given a thought to the book in more than 20 years, even though it had been such a favorite. I thought the movie was fantastic. I kept thinking, How right for this to be made into a movie at this time in history, when animal rights issues and abuse-of-the environment issues concern so many people the world over. Christian Bale did a fine job, is very easy on the eyes, and is, I was charmed to learn, a supporter of animal rights. I thought the ending hooked up pretty well with the rest of the film. There was plenty of foreshadowing that the stepfather character was going to need confronting, and even if we sympathize with Mr. Summers, we know that the laws of the universe and of good filmmaking require that he's going to have to pay for having been a robber and a murderer. At the film's end, Bobby has grown into his best possible self, having gotten rid of the great evil in his life and matured into being able to carry on Mr. Summer's "work"."
An Allegorical Masterpiece
Z. J. Abramovitz | Lawrence, KS United States | 05/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After accidentally stumbling upon this movie on the Sundance channel, I instantly fell in love with its mysterious and allegorical nature. Subsequently, I proceeded to purchase the book (by Walker Hamilton), which, in my opinion, is much better than the movie. When one ponders the meaning of "allegory", we automatically think of George Orwell's famous novel "Animal Farm". However, unlike Orwell's book, "All the Little Animals" contains more subtle insights into the forces of Good and Evil in life. This is probably the reason why the film and the book have slipped by virtually unnoticed in the world of great English literature. In fact, it was quite hard finding a copy of the book which I had to order it off of ..."Out of Print" section. All in all, this story has a powerful and haunting message, which can be credited to Walker Hamilton's brilliantly simple but amazingly complex writing style.
I believe Walker Hamilton's allegorical message is especially geared towards those of an intellectual nature-- separate from the corrupted minds of the masses. It calls out to all the Mr. Sommers in the world, all who are ostracized from society for refusing to uphold social conformities, beckoning them to watch over and care for "all the little animals" (which are the innocent souls such as Bobby Platt). We must be on guard then, ready to resist the wicked acts of those who harm innocent life (The Fat)-- always remembering all the little animals...."