You may remember that earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit the set of The Watsons Go To Birmingham. On that dreary rainy day it seemed as if September was so far away and long to wait for the film to be shown on Hallmark’s Walden Family Theater presented by Walmart and P&G. Well, the premiere was this Friday and the movie was certainly worth the wait. The Watsons Go To Birmingham is based on the book of the same name by Christopher Paul Curtis. The film was produced by Tonya Lewis Lee (who also wrote the screenplay) and Nikki Silver.
The story is set in 1963 and the Watsons are a family of 5 from Detroit that travel to the mother’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights movement. I watched the film on Friday and was literally glued to the screen. The acting was spot on, the relationship between the children was spot on and the important role that young people played in the Civil Rights movement really made this a stand out film in my opinion. It was an excellent depiction of that historical period and continues multiple teachable moments for family viewing. Although at six my son is still too young to understand all of the concepts presented in the film, I plan on purchasing it and watching it with him when he is 10 or 11 which I think is the appropriate age to start discussing things like race relations.
As a matter of fact, if you missed the film on the Hallmark channel, it will be on sale at Walmart starting tomorrow. With your purchase of the DVD, you will also receive a 135 page educational manual about the Civil Rights movement that has already been adopted by the Birmingham school system. Before I visited the set this past spring, I read the book and I plan on reading it with my son, watching the film and reading the manual.
Again, I can’t express how important educating our children about this era in history is and I think the film, book and manual will certainly assist you when you broach this topic with your kids.