Mia and the White Lion
|Mia and the White Lion|
American release poster
|Directed by||Gilles de Maistre|
|Music by||Armand Amar|
|Edited by||Julien Rey|
|Distributed by||StudioCanal (France)|
|Box office||$36.4 million|
Mia and the White Lion (French: Mia et le lion blanc) is a 2018 family adventure film directed by Gilles de Maistre. The film stars Daniah de Villiers, Mélanie Laurent, and Langley Kirkwood. The film was released in France on December 26, 2018 and in the United States on April 12, 2019.
Ten year old Mia Owen has her life turned upside down when her family decides to leave London to manage a lion farm in Africa. When a beautiful white lion, Charlie, is born, Mia finds happiness once again and develops a special bond with the growing cub.
When Charlie grows too old to be kept in the house, Mia's father, John, decides to place the growing lion into an enclosure away from all human contact. When Mia's brother, Mick is injured by Charlie, Mia's parents forbid her from interacting with Charlie - if she does, they will sell him for money. However, Mia defies her father's instructions not to interact with Charlie. In retaliation, her father opts to sell Charlie - Mia is shocked to discover that the farm she lives on is selling lions to be shot as trophy hunters to make money. She becomes determined to save Charlie from this cruel practice so drives across South Africa with him intending to release him into the Timbavati Game Reserve - a refugee for the iconic white lions.
However, a trophy hunter named Dirk who does business with John has his heart set on making Charlie his next trophy and sets out across the country to get him. Mia's family also go after them with the intention of stopping the government from having Mia imprisoned for harboring a dangerous predator.
- Daniah De Villiers as Mia Owen
- Mélanie Laurent as Alice Owen
- Langley Kirkwood as John Owen
- Ryan Mac Lennan as Mick Owen
- Lionel Newton as Kevin
- Lillian Dube as Jodie
- Brandon Auret as Dirk
Directed by French director Gilles de Maistre, the expansive production was filmed over the course of three years so that the film's young stars Daniah De Villiers and Ryan Mac Lennon could bond and develop real relationships with the lions and other animals that appear in the film. The scenes between the actors and the animals in the film are real and not reliant on CGI. Mélanie Laurent, Langley Kirkwood, Brandon Auret and Lillian Dube also star.
Kevin Richardson, a lion expert also known as the “Lion Whisperer”, oversaw the entire production process and all interactions between the lions and the children ensuring the safety of the animals, cast and crew on set.
The film is based on an original story written by de Maistre's wife, Prune de Maistre, after they visited lion-breeding farms in South Africa. The screenplay is written by Prune de Maistre and William Davies. The film is co-produced by Studiocanal, M6 Films, Film Afrika and Pandora film and created in collaboration with Canal+, Cine+, M6, W9 and Film-und Medienstiftung NRW in partnership with Kevin Richardson.
Mia and the White Lion is currently the highest-grossing French production outside France in 2019, accumulating a total of 2.43 million spectators (€13 million in box office revenues) in 25 markets around the world, including 900,000 admissions in Italy (€5.62 million) and 264,000 admissions in Colombia (€625,000).
Reviews were broadly positive. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 6.94/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
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- McNary, Dave (2019-02-06). "Film News Roundup: Family Adventure 'Mia and the White Lion' Set for U.S. Release". Variety. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
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- McNary, Dave (2019-02-06). "Film News Roundup: Family Adventure 'Mia and the White Lion' Set for U.S. Release". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
- "Mia and the White Lion (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
- "Mia and the White Lion reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 24 April 2019.