In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

A Hidden Life

It’s one of the year’s best and most distinctive movies, though sure to be divisive, even alienating for some viewers, in the manner of nearly…

Bombshell

Bombshell is both light on its feet and a punch in the gut.

Other reviews
Review Archives

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

The Trumpet of the Swan

  |  

"The Trumpet of the Swan" is an innocuous family feature that's too little/too late in the fast-moving world of feature animation. I would have found it slow-going anyway, but seeing it not long after the triumph of "Shrek" made it seem even tamer and more flat. Maybe younger children will enjoy it at home on video, but older family members will find it thin.

The story is adapted from a 1970 E. B. White fable about a swan named Louie who is born without a voice. While his sisters Ella and Billie are trumpeter swans with magnificent calls, Louie paddles around in disconsolate silence. His father, desperate, raids a music store in Billings, Mont., and steals a trumpet, which Louie learns to play.

Advertisement

The young cygnet is a quick study. Encouraged by a local boy named Sam (voice by Sam Gifaldi), Louie enrolls in the local (human) school, and learns to communicate by using a blackboard he straps around his neck. But his father's theft of the trumpet weighs upon him, and eventually he flies to Boston and appears in jazz clubs to raise cash to pay for the instrument.

There's more, involving his romance with the feathery Serena (voice by Reese Witherspoon), who in despair over Louie's absence waddles to the altar with the dastardly Boyd (voice by Seth Green). Much is made of the build-up to the Serena-Boyd vows, but once they are interrupted by Louie's last-minute arrival, there are no further wedding scenes, leading thoughtful viewers to wonder whether Serena's nest-full of eggs represents a little premarital feather-dusting. It wouldn't be the first time a bird fell for a trumpet player.

Popular Blog Posts

The Ten Best Films of 2019

The best films of 2019, as chosen by the staff of RogerEbert.com.

Telluride 2019: Ford v. Ferrari, Uncut Gems, Marriage Story

A review of three premieres from Telluride.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Best Television of the Decade

The top 50 shows of the 2010s.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus