In early 1996, my husband and I had been married for a couple of months, and were visiting Canberra for his PhD study. He was working and I was more or less at leisure for a couple of weeks, though feeling unwell, since we were expecting our first child. One day, I went to the movies to see the US/Australian movie “Babe” about a little piglet and how he finds his place on the farm. He decides to try herding sheep. (Wikipedia entry--contains plot spoilers.)
I think it was just the hormones, but this movie had me in tears of joy. It really is a delightful story, and is right up there with “Molokai” as a favourite. The ending still moves me.
Here is the trailer.
The movie was filmed in the southern highlands of New South Wales, and the lead roles were Farmer Hoggett (US actor James Cromwell) and his wife Mrs. Esme Hoggett (Australian actress, Magda Szubanski). The leading actors for the voices of the animal characters were Hugo Weaving (Rex), Miriam Margolyes (Fly) and Christine Cavanaugh (Babe). The actors in this were all excellent, as was the direction (Chris Noonan). The animal characters are really good too.
I agree with the critic who said that the well-trained animals, good animation, and intelligent script make this such a good story. It is set in no particular time, although it has an old-fashioned, mid-20th century feel to it. It's also not set in any particular place, although filmed in NSW. None of the characters are Australian. Most speak with American or English accents. It is perhaps trying to appeal to all English-speakers and I think it succeeds at this.
It had been years since I last saw it, but I was happy to discover that watching it again confirmed that it really is as good as I remember. It is a joyful, beautiful thing and I feel confident in recommending it to you all as a great family movie. It deserves to be a family classic. That said, there are some themes which the youngest family members might feel worried about, for example, the threat of certain animals becoming dinner for the farmer and his wife, or the scene where a sheep, “Maa,” has blood at her neck after an attack from wild dogs, so it's perhaps best to view it first before showing it to the very little ones. Also, some youngsters may not realise that meat is from animals! This can be traumatic for some of them. There is nothing too disturbing though, as far as I can tell.
It can be rented for a couple of dollars on Amazon Prime, if you have that, but I'm convinced it's worth buying the DVD. It shouldn't be too hard to rent, at least, wherever you are.
It's a simple movie, so there isn't much more to say, except that the first time I saw it, I wanted to turn right around and go to the next showing, and that's not common for me. For some reason, I didn't do this. Maybe I had to be somewhere. When you're feeling low, grab a cup of tea, and watch this movie about the winsome little pig, “Babe.”
—Louise is an Australian homeschooling mother of six, currently living in Texas