5 Tree

My Side of the Mountain

Pros

  • Introduces children to the benefits of learning to live with nature.
  • Even though Sam's desire is to live alone, he comes to realize that he needs others in his life.
  • Sam's "can do" nature is inspiring!
  • Cons

  • Sam's pet falcon gets shot and killed during the movie.
  • Parents need to have a discussion that running away from home is not the correct way to learn about wilderness living.
  • Review

    MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN stars 13-year-old Eccles (Sam) as a young man who greatly admires Naturalist Henry David Thoreau.

    Emulating his hero, Sam runs away to live in the Canadian woodlands, leaving a note telling his parents that he will return in one year. Taking some equipment and his pet raccoon, Gus, he makes himself a home in a hollow tree.  Sam learns various survival methods, forages for food, fishes, and traps. He also teaches himself about falconry and captures and trains a falcon (named Frightful) as both a pet and to hunt for him.  He conducts and records scientific experiments to learn more about algae. 

    Sam meets a wandering folk singer, Bando (delightfully played by Theodore Bikel), who teaches the boy more woodland lore. In the process of learning about life in the wilderness, he also learns much about himself and his relationship with his family. The film is both entertaining and educational; Sam's day-to-day life in the woods, inventiveness, and determination are nicely portrayed and completely believable. Bando and Miss Turner (the public librarian) lend good support, but the raccoon, falcon and an otter could easily steal the show.

    MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN is good family viewing that will delight kids and interest adults as well.

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