My Side of the Mountain
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.