Mr. Frog – Film Review

Mr. Frog is one of the seven films in the Childish Films series of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. It is a Dutch film that places a fairy tail element within an otherwise everyday world. What happens when your teacher sometimes turns into a frog? Deborah Girdwood, who is the lead programmer for Childish Films, compares it to a Roald Dahl story. So if you like The BFG, Matilda, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you may find some common elements.

Mr. Frog - MSPIFF
Mr. Frog – Image courtesy of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Mr. Frog – Review

This was my 11-year-old daughter’s favorite film of the series. It was definitely the least challenging and most fun film this year. Mr. Frog is recommended for ages 6+. I believe this is a pretty accurate assessment. Mr. Frans, the frog teacher, is a goofy handsome. The kids are fun-loving but good. The antagonist is a too-stuffy principal with a penchant for scribbling derogatory notes in his ever-present notebook. The cast is small, so it is easy to keep track of who is who. There is not a lot of dialogue, and it is relatively unnecessary to the plot. Dutch is also a pretty easy language to follow. This film, unlike some of the others in the series, has an actual bad guy, but even he is not too bad. There is one intense scene, but I wouldn’t take it to the level of scary.

For adults, the plot may be a bit silly and some of the characters a bit cartoonish, but this is obviously intentional. The whole story has a comic book feel to it. The appeal to me is the quiet honesty of this film. Even though the story is fantasy, the setting is every day real life.The homes are always cluttered and busy. No one looks like they are ready for a magazine shoot. The kids play in their backyards. Everyone bikes everywhere. The adults aren’t perfect, but they are real — not good and not bad. Even Mr. Stork (the “bad guy”) is a victim of his nature. I find this type of reality refreshing.

If you want to start kids on high-quality international film, this would make a good starter film. If your child happens to speak Dutch, or even German, I would really recommend the film. 

This film was originally reviewed as part of the Childish Films section of the 2017 Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. FFTC was provided with tickets to facilitate our review. Find more movie reviews from past film festivals here

Mr. Frog – Details and Viewing Info

Language: Dutch
Runtime: 90 minutes
You can view the trailer for the film below.


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