Actors: Meredith Salenger, John Cusak, Ray Wise, Lainie Kazan, Jed the Wolf
|Review Summary and Plot Commentary about The Journey of Natty Gann|
|Natty Gann (Meredith Salenger) is a young girl growing up in depression era Chicago. She lives with her father only as her mother died when she was very small. The only thing her mother left was a locket for her memory.
Times are tough and Natty's father Sol (Ray Wise) searches long hours for work. A break comes when he is offered a job in a WPA lumber camp work project. It's a great job but one small problem. The job is in Washington State and he must leave right away if he wants it. Too good to pass up, he agrees, rushing home to gather up Natty. He looks everywhere for her but she is nowhere to be found. He searches the city frantically as time runs out. With no more time remaining, he leaves Natty a note and catches the bus. However, not before he arranges for the apartment manager Connie (Lainie Kazan) to look keep and eye on Natty until he can send for her.
Natty arrives home to an empty apartment and a note. The manager finds her hard to manage. She finally calls children's protective services but Natty escapes before they get there. This spurs a journey into the unknown as she sets out to find her father.
With her empty wallet, she hops a train headed west. The path is wrought with dangers and she encounters her first on the train. Several hobos are eyeing her when a kind vagabond traveler named Harry (John Cusak) steps in to save her.
The friendship is brief as railroad inspectors are waiting when they pull into the next station. Everyone scrambles for escape. By now, Natty is getting pretty hungry and goes looking for a morsel. This leads her into a new friendship when she saves a beautiful wolf (Jed) from a nasty dog fight gambling ring. Both she and the wolf end up back on the train together.
All is going well until a terrible train accident. Natty and the wolf are uninjured but the accident inspectors find her lost wallet in the wreckage. They inform her father and he now believes she is dead. He feels his life isn't worth living any longer and starts taking the most dangerous jobs at the camp.
Natty might very well have be dead if it wasn't for the wolf. He brings her food, and keeps her warm in the wilderness until they make it to a hobo camp. There she meets Harry once again. Having a soft spot for the girl, he decides to tag along until they reach he coast.
Once there, Harry finds a job that will take him south. The then realize just how fond of each other they are. Even so, Natty is determined to find her dad in the lumber camp. Harry goes south and she goes north.
The girl and her wolf companion arrive at the worksite to find there has been a terrible accident with dynamite. Several men have been killed. Was Natty too late to see her father for the last time?
--Talea, Resident Scholar
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|Analysis of The Journey of Natty Gann|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Time/era of movie:
Kids growing up/acting up?
- Dada gone
- a teen
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
- brunette (Brown)
- (woman) short/butch/lez
- (woman) average
Events of movie makes character more...
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor?
- Strong but gentle sense of humor
- Very much smarter than other characters
- very athletic
Secondary Main Character
- brunette (Brown)
- (man) short/standard straight
- (man) average build
How much in movie?
- White (American)
- a fight for survival
How much of work is main antagonist actually present in:
- climbing on trails
- moving train
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Movie makes you feel...
If this is a kid's movie...
- Ages 10-15
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