Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sensory-Friendly Ramona

Rose and I saw a movie yesterday, something we do very rarely! The stars aligned just right: a show she really wanted to see, an open time block... and a sensory friendly showing!

I've been getting announcements for local sensory-friendly movie events for quite a while, without these components lining up exactly for us, so we'd never been to a sensory-friendly showing. We get the announcements due to our association with autism-related organizations, but Joy isn't anywhere near being able (or interested) for a feature-length film. Rose, however, has disliked loud noises since she was very young. And I often experience the sound level at a movie theatre as a sonic assault myself, especially during the previews!

So, what makes a sensory-friendly showing? At least for this one:

Sound level is turned down. No previews. The showtime is not listed for the general public in the theatre's regular listing. A non-judgmental atmosphere for viewers who need to get up and move, or do some vocalizing, or take breaks.

I don't know how attendance usually is, but for us this felt like practically a private showing! There were only two other mother-daughter families there, and though I'd tipped Rose off that people might need to move around or make noise a little more than at most showings, nobody did.

So, the movie. Ramona and Beezus.

Ramona and Beezus by Louis DarlingI'd read most of the Ramona books, by Beverly Clearly, long ago when I was in elementary school myself. The books tell of an imaginative young tyke, Ramona Quimby, whose off-beat ideas and impulses get her into all sorts of scrapes, and her quiet responsible older sister Beatrice (who picked up the awful nickname Beezus because little Ramona couldn't pronounce the real thing as a toddler). I always identified more with Beezus than Ramona, being an awkward bookish older sister myself. The original line-drawings by Louis Darling -- example on the left -- are still what I imagine the characters to look like.

The movie was sweet and age-appropriate. Rose loved it, though she'd never really gotten into the books, which were a little slow-paced for her. (She preferred Junie B. Jones, from a more contemporary series of books with a Ramona-like lead character.)

The movie takes plot elements from different books -- Daddy losing his job from Ramona and Her Father, Aunt Bea's romance from Ramona Forever, little touches like Ramona "boinging" a classmate's curls and turning the "Q" in her last name into a cat from Ramona the Pest. The job-loss frame turns it into a contemporary fable of recessionary struggle and family resilience with darker themes than I was expecting, and more tearjerker moments, but with lots of humor along the way and a happy ending as a "G"-rated movie should have. Ramona herself is played spot-on.

Rose was all excited to see Selena Gomez cast as Beezus. Her mama was not nearly so impressed. Beezus isn't supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous! How can I identify with that??


Anonymous said...

I remember Maria von Trapp thought Julie Andrews was too pretty to play her in "Sound of Music". I bet you can still identify with a lovelier Beezus if you try. ;) I will have no problem doing so.

Our Teen has berated me into reading "Flipped" and I have finally realized why about half-way into the book. I expect be posting about that book.

I have been reading about 'sensory friendly' movies - mostly from Austin tweeters. Great idea and good PR for theaters I would think. Thanks for sharing this - very encouraging, Bee-JoyMama!


dolphinhugger said...

You are gorgeous, JoyMama, in body and soul. Accept it, own it, live it!