Four orphaned and homeless siblings happen upon an abandoned boxcar, which, with a little creativity and hard work, they gradually furnish with all the comforts of home. Fearful that they will be sent to live with the reputedly cruel grandfather they have never met, the children keep their new home a secret — until a serious illness forces them to reveal themselves in order to save young Violet.
“The Boxcar Children” is a warm and wonderful film that the entire family can enjoy watching together. The animation is terrific, featuring meadows, scenes in the woods, snow, and warm and vibrant colors. Its simple story and remarkable cast (including Martin Sheen and J.K. Simmons) makes for an enjoyable viewing experience.
In the opening sequence lightning strikes a train, separating a box car from it during a storm. Soon we see four children wandering on their own, going into a bakery to get something to eat. The viewer learns that the children’s parents died, and they don’t believe their grandfather wants them. So they are on their own. Soon they come to the boxcar and sleep there for the night. They take a liking to it and with Henry, the oldest, finding yard work for a Dr. Moore, the other kids, Jessie, Violet, and young Benny take care of housekeeping while Henry works. They find old dishes and make the boxcar a home and refuge. They even cook potatoes on an open fire at night. Any time Benny becomes frightened the children urge him to use his imagination and suddenly he becomes Robin Hood, protecting them with his bow or he is the papa bear, looking out for the rest of the bear family. They enjoy the summer months in the boxcar, even agreeing, “This really has been a magical summer. I wish it would never end.” Things change when Violet becomes sick and they go stay with the kindly Dr. Moore who treats her. Then a nice stranger comes to visit them and the plot takes an interesting turn. The ending is terrific.
We gladly award this heartwarming old fashioned tale our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for all ages. “The Boxcar Children” should not be missed!