This film was one of those rare instances where the studio informed me of its screening and I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. The reason, I discovered, is that when Nickelodeon rejects a film for its cable channel, it gets sent to the graveyard of late August releases to die a quiet death.
Evan Rachel Wood stars as Emily, a girl so precocious she makes Mary Kate and Ashley look like poster children for fetal alcohol syndrome. Emily is a master violinist who has her heart set on playing in the symphony. On the side, she also runs this weird little neighborhood business that involves charging little kids money so that they can tell her their secrets. So, basically what you've got here is a neighborhood where everybody has secrets and everybody is going to learn that secrets are bad.
Before that happens, the new kid on the block, Philip (Michael Angarano) starts following Emily around. He's 12 and she's 14 and she's already made googly-eyes at Philip's older brother, David (David Gallagher). Unfortunately, Philip tells Emily a secret about David involving drinking which sends Emily into a rage. Emily also plays her violin while sitting on the roof. Somebody comments that they don't want her to fall off the roof. Thus, we have several mysteries. First, why does Emily get all huffy over some drinking? Two, when will Emily fall off the roof?
Incidentally, we also know that Emily is adopted, which is her big secret that she's keeping from everyone. After Emily falls off the roof, she reveals to David that she's adopted and that her parents were killed by a drunk driver. Inspired by Emily's tale of woe, everybody in the neighborhood reveals their secrets (at Emily's behest) and the entire town is saved from a lifetime of privacy. Consider for one moment, an entire movie in which everybody is keeping secrets. In my neck of the woods we have a name for these people: liars.
Frankly, if I had spent time watching this thing as an afternoon special when I was nine, I would have considered it an insult.
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