Movie Review – ‘The Journey of Natty Gann’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

My parents and I saw another movie on Disney+ last Friday and it turned out to be the 1985 film ‘The Journey of Natty Gann’. I enjoyed seeing this period drama film. It turned out to be better than I anticipated. It was very gripping, especially concerning the journey of a young girl finding her father.

The film takes place during the Great Depression of 1930s America. I studied the Great Depression in my GCSE History classes many years ago, so the setting was quite familiar to me. It was astonishing to see how this film portrayed the cruel harshness of 1930s America during the Great Depression. 😐

Directed by Jeremy Paul Kagan, the film introduces Meredith Salenger in her first film role as Natty Gann. I found her very good here and she won the Best Actress in a Drama award at the Young Artist Awards for her portrayal of Natty Gann. The film also has John Cusack, Lainie Kazan and Ray Wise. 🙂

In the film, Natty Gann is a teenage tomboy who lives in Chicago with her unemployed widowed father Sol (played by Ray Wise). After being out of work because of the Great Depression, Sol gets work as a lumberjack in Washington. But he has to leave Natty behind on almost no notice on a bus.

Sol promises to send word to Natty to catch a bus after him and makes arrangements with the shallow and insensitive innkeeper of their rooming house called Connie (played by Lainie Kazan). Natty suffers cruelty under Connie’s temporary supervision and soon runs away to find her father. 🙂

It was compelling to see the journey Natty Gann went on to find her father, which includes a cross-country journey via trains along with other penniless travellers and hobos. She encounters a wolfdog on her journey whom she saves from a dog fighting ring and she befriends him, calling him ‘Wolf’. 😀

Wolf is played by Jed the Wolfdog, who’s had more film credits than I ever realised including the two ‘White Fang’ films by Disney and the 1982 film ‘The Thing’. I liked the friendship formed between Natty and Wolf, especially as he protected her from all the dangers she encountered on her journey.

It was also nice to see the brief, innocent romance Natty formed with another young traveller named Harry (played by John Cusack). It’s a shame they had to part company when Natty decided to go find her father whilst he goes to San Francisco, but at least the two shared a little kiss together. 🙂

Natty encounters various obstacles on her journey that test her courage, perseverance and ingenuity such as being arrested after cattle rustling and remanded to a juvenile facility. She escapes from that as well as escaping from being narrowly ‘turned in’ by an unscrupulous ticket agent at a train station.

Some of the people Natty encounters on her journey are pretty cruel and nasty, including those at the juvenile facility as well as someone who takes advantage of her when giving her a car ride. Thankfully the blacksmith who took Wolf away in a box turned out to be kind and fair-minded to her.

Natty manages to reunite with her father by the film’s end whilst during that time, he believed her to be dead. It was nice to see how Natty reunited with her father, especially when Wolf watched her from a nearby cliff after saying goodbye to her to be with his kind. It’s a sweet way to end the film. 🙂

Just to talk about the film’s music, most of it is composed by James Horner, who I’ve come across quite a number of times in certain films such as ‘Star Trek II’ and ‘Star Trek III’ as well as ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. I always find James Horner’s music in certain films very uplifting to listen to. 🙂

‘The Journey of Natty Gann’ has been a worthwhile film to watch on Disney+. I’m glad my parents and I saw it last Friday as it was very gripping to see. The film does feel more grown-up and grittier compared to more recent Disney films I’ve seen. It’s a film definitely worth your time to check out. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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