The Willoughbys

The+Willoughbys

Lauren Claire Avelino, Staff Writer

The Willoughbys is a Netflix original animated film that was released last April 22, 2020 and it is based off of the novel The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry, the author of The Giver and Number the Stars. It was directed by Kris Pearn, Cory Evans, and Rob Lodermeier, and this movie will have you feeling a lot of conflicting emotions, as some parts are irritating and others are funny.

The main characters are the Willoughby siblings, Tim, Jane, the Barnaby twins, and a cat who narrates the movie. Occasionally, a baby named Ruth and Commander Melanoff also appear.

 The Willoughby siblings all live with incredibly selfish parents in an old-fashioned home hidden in a city. At the beginning of this movie, all they ever want is for their parents to love them and have a perfect family.  

Tim, Jane, and the Barnabys eventually plan a “made up” vacation trip around the world for their parents, since they never care about the children anyway. This allows the Willoughby siblings to become “orphans” and have the freedom to do whatever they want. However, as they all think that they are “parent-free”, Linda, a nanny hired by their parents, shows up on their doorstep and offers to take care of them. 

Throughout the movie, Linda does everything to take care of the siblings.  She gives them food and expresses that “my duty is to take care of you guys.” But as the Willoughby siblings start to have a closer connection with her, events happen that cause them to all drift away from each other. 

Linda finds a way to gain them back, which is a success, but in order for them to not be separated again, the Willoughby siblings have to find their parents. 

Towards the end of the movie, they all travel to Sveetzerlünd on a dirigible and eventually find their parents frozen on top of a mountain. But instead of thanking Tim, Jane, and the Barnabys for “saving” them, these parents continue to remain selfish and move along with their lives, without the kids. Linda and Commander Melanoff decide to adopt these children and they become “a perfectly imperfect family.”

One of the best parts about this movie is hearing the song “I Choose”  sung by Alessia Cara. The song really sums up how, although Tim, Jane, and the Barnabys don’t have perfect biological parents, they have the determination to all stick together “through the lows and the highs.” 

Overall, this movie is really good and heartwarming, and it is worth checking out. Despite seeing the Willoughby siblings’ egotistical parents who have no love for them, it is amazing to see how Linda and Commander Melanoff show their affections towards these children and treat them like they are their own.