Gender Roles – Women
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Gender Roles - Women: 3.5 Stars
The young girl in this film is both engaging and thoughtful. She takes it upon herself to look out for Billy, the one boy who separates himself from the rest of the group. She also makes a lasting impression on the narrator (the boy who is struggling to keep his belief in Santa Claus), by sharing some of her unique spirit with him.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 4 Stars
The Polar Express is a rare sort of film that can boast having a young African American girl as one of its main heroes. She is an endearing character who draws people in with her song and her spirit - and at times, even eclipses the young boy at the center of the story. She is bright, confident and kind, and easily wins us over with her genuine smile and simple pink nightgown.
Friendship: 4 Stars
The boys on the train clearly welcome and respect the leadership of the young girl who accompanies them on the Polar Express. She’s never dismissed as being “just a girl,” and they don't hesitate to follow her lead when they end up lost at the North Pole. Her influence brings them together and helps them grow on their Christmas Eve journey, possibly even more so than their brief encounter with Santa Claus.
Room for Improvement:
Gender Roles – Men
Gender Roles - Men: 3 Stars
The young boy in the film is a typical example of a young boy at his age. He struggles to be logical and brave and is afraid of looking childish or silly for believing in something that he can’t see. He is still humble enough to admit his mistakes, however, and isn't too proud to take direction from a girl or trust in the instincts of his friends.
Plot: 2 Stars (Spoilers)
The Polar Express is the story of a boy on the verge of losing his faith in Santa Claus, who learns to believe again during one magical Christmas Eve at the North Pole. The young girl isn’t the focus of the story, but she is given an impressive subplot. When she and the other children get separated from the group, she confidently leads them back to the square where Santa Claus is waiting with his sleigh full of toys. While the hero of the story learns to "Believe" by the end of the film, this charismatic young girl learns to be a "Leader."
Character Development: 2 Stars
There isn’t much room for character development in this story. Most of the film is dedicated to action sequences and strong visuals. We are, however, given some indication that the young girl in this story has grown stronger over the course of her trip on the Polar Express. On three separate occasions she is called upon to make a statement or a decision. When those around her ask “Are you sure?” the doubt seems to freeze her into inaction. But by the third time, she boldly answers that she is “Absolutely” sure, and stands by her decision. It's just unfortunate that this change happens so quickly, and that we aren't given a fuller idea of what brings about her sudden surge in confidence.
The story of a boy who is losing his belief in Santa Claus and Christmas. On Christmas Eve he finds that a mysterious train bound for the North Pole has arrived outside his home, the Polar Express. The boy boards the train and forms friendships with the other children, braving dangerous obstacles and mishaps as they make their way towards the North Pole. The children each learn a valuable lesson on their journey, and the young boy finds out what it truly means to believe in the miracle of Christmas.
Kelly is a labor law