Taken from the classic books by Ludwig Bemelmans, Madeline is the darling story of 12 little girls who live in a boarding school. The woman in charge of the home is a nun, Miss Clavel (Frances McDormand). Red-headed Madeline is the smallest of the girls but is, nevertheless, fearless and curious. The film follows Madeline's escapades as she has her appendix out, clashes with Pepito (the boy next door), falls in the river and more. There is a subplot concerning the approaching sale of the school and what it will mean to the girls who live there. Is it possible to have a happy ending?
This extremely watchable movie for children is a wonderful addition to the repertoire of good children's films. Hatty Jones is a delight as Madeline and the other little girls are fun and expressive. The leap from book to movie is smooth and successful; the film includes many of the books' key elements and will thus be appreciated by Bemelmans' fans. There is more than enough action and humor to keep children interested from start to finish. Adults will be charmed by the film as well. Recommended for families who are looking for quality alternatives to Disney, Beethoven the dog, Charlotte's Web, etc.