‘Rio’ Gives the Girls a Chance

I’m developing what some would call an annoying habit, but what mothers of girls would call necessary. I can’t watch a kiddie flick without mining it for lessons of how womanhood rocks the kazbaa.

Case in point: I spent Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 thinking “long live Hermione.”

But it’s Rio that’s been on my mind this week. The movie is coming out on DVD Tuesday, and a screener arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago. First clue that I should watch it? My 18-year-old babysitter saw it and said, “I’m staying to watch this.”

She didn’t care if I was paying her for the extra time. She’d seen it in the theater and wanted to see it again. Call it a sign.

Rio rocks.

Or rather, Jewel, the last female blue macaw on the planet, whose been captured so she can mate with Blu, the last MALE blue macaw on the planet (don’t worry, the concept of what “mating” means is entirely glossed over for the sake of parents who don’t want to have to explain THAT ONE to their kids) rocks. She makes up for a storyline that’s honestly just so-so, shining as bright as the jewel colors of the Amazon that come out in the CGI animation.

Voiced by the immensely talented Anne Hathaway (lovers of The Princess Diaries take note), Jewel doesn’t see any reason to sit in a cage and make goo goo eyes at a stranger because, um, he’s there? Score one for little girls everywhere — a cartoon character who doesn’t swoon the instant she sees a male of her species.

And it gets better. Jewel is the brains behind their escape into the crazed world that is Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. Jewel bites. She kicks. She isn’t the doofy little boy bird who can’t fly because he’s a big fraidy cat (macaw?).

Essentially everything that’s usually ascribed to the wilting female characters has been passed off on Blu, and as a mother of a girl, I’m OK with that for once. More than OK. Because what Rio lacks in heart, it makes up for in female chutzpah.

Who are your favorite female characters for little girls to emulate?

Disclosure: A screener was provided to facilitate this review. All reference to she-woman man haters clubs are my own.


  1. What can I say? Rio DOES rock! I love this movie!! 😀

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