The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)

DailyView: Day 349, Movie 497

If you were after one of those old fashion Disney action adventures of a girl and her wolf, The Journey of Natty Gann will be right up your alley.

Set during the Great Depression when jobs were scarce and difficult to find, The Journey of Natty Gann followed young tomboy Natty Gann ( Meredith Salenger) on her desperate trip to reunite with her father (Ray Wise), who had to take a job 2,000 miles away from her in the Pacific Northwest. Along the way, she was befriended by a wild wolf and the pair of them go on several adventures on her path to find her father.

She also came across grifter Harry (John Cusack) who helped her jump several trains. John Cusack’s role is not as large as one might expect. The film is certainly Meredith Salenger’s and she does a very good job of being the lead protagonist. She never feels whiny, as some Disney characters tend to be. She and the wolf which she named Wolf, have a nice relationship, even if they come about it in a somewhat easy manner.

As a Disney film, you kind of already have an idea of where this was heading, but, to be fair, there is a scene where Natty was picked up by a guy in a truck who tried to force himself on her. Thankfully, Wolf is much more powerful than window glass, but I was surprised by the implication of the creepy guy in a truck in a Disney film.

The film sort of skirts around the dangers and the death that accompanied the trip, leaving much of it to the imagination of the viewers. It is in the film, it is just not front and center.

Ray Wise is always good, but I have to admit that I kept thinking that this film is not too far from when he would be wrapping Laura Palmer in plastic. That is, of course, my own problem and not a critique of this movie.

The Journey of Natty Gann is improbable, but fun. A good family film that has some darkness hidden inside it.

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