Stuart Little (film)

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Stuart Little
A smiling white mouse standing atop a big sneaker. A blue suitcase sits beside it.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Minkoff
Screenplay by
Based onStuart Little
by E. B. White
Produced byDouglas Wick
Starring
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited byTom Finan
Music byAlan Silvestri
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[2]
Release dates
  • December 5, 1999 (1999-12-05) (Mann Village Theatre)
  • December 17, 1999 (1999-12-17) (United States)
Running time
84 minutes[3]
Country
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$105[4]–133 million[5]
Box office$300.1 million[5]

Stuart Little is a 1999 American live action/computer-animated comedy film loosely based on the 1945 novel of the same name by E. B. White. Directed by Rob Minkoff in his live-action debut, the screenplay was written by M. Night Shyamalan and Greg Brooker, and stars Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Jonathan Lipnicki, alongside the voices of Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Chazz Palminteri, Steve Zahn, Bruno Kirby, and Jennifer Tilly.

Stuart Little premiered in Westwood at Mann Village Theatre on December 5, 1999, and was released in United States on December 17, 1999, by Columbia Pictures.[5] The film received generally positive reviews, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, losing to The Matrix.[6] After its success, it also started a franchise, spawning the sequel Stuart Little 2 in 2002, the short-lived television series Stuart Little in 2003, and another sequel in 2005, the direct-to-video Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild. It was Estelle Getty's final film role before her retirement in 2001 and her death in July 2008.

Plot[edit]

Frederick and Eleanor Little are a happily married couple living in New York City, intending to adopt a younger brother for their son, George. When they visit the orphanage, they meet a smart, anthropomorphic mouse named Stuart and, despite the head of the orphanage Mrs. Keeper's initial objections, choose him instead. Upon returning home, Stuart struggles to fit in; George is disappointed and refuses to acknowledge Stuart as his brother, and the family cat, Snowbell, is disgusted at the fact that he is now a pet to a mouse. Eleanor then goes on to accidentally trap Stuart in the washing machine one morning after a load of laundry. She rescues Stuart from swallowing too much detergent, but Stuart becomes ill as he coughs up soap bubbles. Stuart then recovers after a visit from Dr. Beechwood.

After Stuart admits to the Littles that he feels an empty space inside him, they meet with Mrs. Keeper to find out some information about Stuart's real parents, but are told nothing due to confidentiality. As time goes by, George and Stuart start to bond after Stuart encourages him to finish making his model boat for an upcoming race. Meanwhile, Snowbell and his friend Monty host a meeting with a rogue alley cat named Smokey and hatch a plan to have Stuart removed from the household.

On the day of the race, Stuart accidentally breaks George's remote control, rendering his boat inoperable. He jumps in and takes control of it himself, narrowly avoiding a crash on the water and subsequently winning the race. Later that night while celebrating, they are interrupted by a mouse couple who arrive at the house; they introduce themselves as Reggie and Camille Stout, and claim to be Stuart's biological parents who were forced to give him up due to poverty. The Littles reluctantly agree to allow Stuart to leave with the Stouts, leaving George forlorn.

The orphanage contacts the Littles to ask how Stuart is doing, and when Frederick and Eleanor explain he has gone home with his real parents, Mrs. Keeper informs them that Stuart's real parents died several years earlier when a canned food pyramid fell on them in a supermarket, hence why he was put up for adoption to begin with. Realizing Stuart has been kidnapped (a ploy organized by Snowbell and the other cats), the family organize a huge search party around the city. Fearing that his involvement in the deception will be exposed, Snowbell informs Smokey that the Littles have found out about the Stouts, so Smokey decides Stuart must be killed instead.

Filled with remorse due to Stuart's overwhelming sadness, Reggie and Camille tell him the truth and order him to run away for his own safety; he is delighted to hear he is not a Stout and makes his way back to the Little house. On the way through the park, he is ambushed by Smokey and his gang but manages to evade them by going into a sewer. He makes it home, greeted by a jealous Snowbell who tells him the family are out celebrating his absence. Heartbroken, Stuart leaves. In Central Park, he stops to rest for the night in a birds' nest, and is later found by a remorseful Snowbell, who admits he lied and encourages him to come home. When the pair are confronted by the other cats, Snowbell refuses to hand Stuart over and the cats give chase. They eventually corner Stuart as he hangs from a tree branch over a pond of cold water; Snowbell saves him by breaking the branch the cats are on, sending Monty and the others plummeting into the pond below, which they quickly swim out of. Smokey sneaks up behind Snowbell to kill him but before he can do so, Stuart intervenes by releasing a thin branch that hits Smokey in the face, which also sends him plunging into the pond. Smokey swims and climbs out of the pond, furious and humiliated at being defeated by a "mouse and his pet cat", and wonders what could be worse. His question is answered when he is suddenly attacked by two stray dogs, who presumably kill him.

Snowbell takes Stuart home, just as the Littles are getting ready for bed. George spots Stuart through the front window and everyone is happily reunited. When Frederick asks how he made it back, he tells them he owes his life to Snowbell, who has finally realized Stuart truly is family.

Cast[edit]

Live-action cast[edit]

  • Geena Davis as Mrs. Eleanor Little, the mother of the Little family and Frederick's wife.
  • Hugh Laurie as Mr. Frederick Little, the father of the Little family and Eleanor's husband.
  • Jonathan Lipnicki as George Little, the eldest child of the Little family and Stuart's older brother.
  • Jeffrey Jones as Uncle Crenshaw Little, the older brother of Frederick Little and the younger brother of Beatrice.
  • Connie Ray as Aunt Tina Little, the wife of Crenshaw and the sister-in-law of Beatrice and Frederick.
  • Allyce Beasley as Aunt Beatrice Little, the older sister of Crenshaw and Frederick.
  • Brian Doyle-Murray as Cousin Edgar Little, the cousin of Beatrice, Crenshaw and Frederick and the nephew of Grandpa Spencer.
  • Estelle Getty as Grandma Estelle Little, the mother of Beatrice, Crenshaw and Frederick.
  • Harold Gould as Grandpa Spencer Little, the father of Beatrice, Crenshaw and Frederick.
  • Patrick Thomas O'Brien as Uncle Stretch Little, the husband of Beatrice and the brother-in-law of Crenshaw and Frederick.
  • Julia Sweeney as Mrs. Keeper, the head of the New York City Public Orphanage.
  • Dabney Coleman as Dr. Beechwood, a doctor who came to the Littles' house.
  • Miles Marsico as Anton Gartman, a mean-spirited child who bullied George during the boat race.
  • Jim Doughan as Detective Phil Allen, Detective Sherman's partner. Doughan also voiced Lucky the Cat in the film.
  • Jon Polito as Detective Sherman, a police detective who works for the New York Police Department.
  • Joe Bays as the Race Starter
  • Taylor Negron as the Clothing Salesman

Voice cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming began on August 3, 1998, and wrapped on November 11.[7]

Lost painting unknowingly used on set[edit]

One of the paintings used as set dressing for the Littles' home was Hungarian avant garde painter Róbert Berény's 1920s painting Sleeping Lady with Black Vase, which had long been considered lost. A set designer for the film had purchased the painting at an antiques store in Pasadena, California for $500 for use in the film, unaware of its significance. In 2009, art historian Gergely Barki, while watching Stuart Little on television with his daughter, noticed the painting, and after contacting the studios was able to track down its whereabouts.[8] In 2014, its owner sold the painting at an auction for €229,500.[9]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Stuart Little was released theatrically on December 17, 1999. On its opening weekend, Stuart Little grossed $15 million, placing it at #1 dethroning Toy Story 2. It dropped to #2 over its second weekend, but went back to #1 on its third weekend with $16 million. According to Box Office Mojo, its final gross in the United States and Canada was $140 million and it grossed $160.1 million at the international box office, for an estimated total of $300 million worldwide.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, 67% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 97 responses with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's consensus reads: "Critics say Stuart Little is charming with kids and adults for its humor and visual effects."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100 from 32 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Jesus Freak Hideout said that "from start to finish, Stuart Little is a near flawless family film"[13] while Stephen Holden of The New York Times had said "the only element that doesn't completely harmonize with the rest of the film is the visually unremarkable digital figure of Stuart."[14]

Home media[edit]

Stuart Little was released on VHS and DVD in the United States on April 18, 2000 by Columbia TriStar Home Video,[15] and in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2000. It was later re-released on a Deluxe Edition on May 21, 2002, by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, and on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011, by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack album Stuart Little: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture was released by Motown and Universal Records on November 30, 1999, on audio CD and audio cassette. Tracks in bold do not appear in the film.

No.TitleLength
1."I Need to Know" (R Angels)3:54
2."The Two of Us" (S Club 7)3:35
3."You're Where I Belong" (Trisha Yearwood)4:17
4."If You Can't Rock Me" (The Brian Setzer Orchestra)2:40
5."1+1=2" (Lou Bega)4:04
6."He Rules" (702)3:04
7."Home" (Brian McKnight)4:22
8."Walking Tall" (Lyle Lovett)3:16
9."Lucky Day" (Matt Goss)4:03
10."Mouse in the House" (Colby O'Donis)4:34
11."As Long as I Can Dream" (Debelah Morgan)4:27
12."The Boat Race" (Alan Silvestri)5:12
13."I'm Gonna Miss You" (Alan Silvestri)4:43
14."You're Where I Belong (Soul Solution Remix)" (Trisha Yearwood)4:04
Total length:56:15

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stuart Little". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  2. ^ "Stuart Little". AllMovie. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "Stuart Little". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "Stuart Little (1999) – Financial Information". the-numbers.com. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Stuart Little (1999)". Box Office Mojo. April 16, 2000. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "The 72nd Academy Awards". Academy Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "Stuart Little: Production Notes". Cinema.com. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  8. ^ "Stuart Little leads art historian to long-lost Hungarian masterpiece". The Guardian. Budapest: Guardian Media Group. Agence France-Presse. November 27, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  9. ^ Laura Westbrook (December 14, 2014). "Lost painting auctioned after discovery in Stuart Little film". BBC News. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "Stuart Little". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  11. ^ "Stuart Little". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  12. ^ "Home". CinemaScore. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  13. ^ "Stuart Little". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Stephen Holden (December 17, 1999). "Film Review – Extra! Sly Cat Upstages Stuart Little!". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (March 4, 2000). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)

External links[edit]