The Tiger Rising Film Review

The Tiger Rising (2022), directed by Ray Giarratana | FEATURE FILM REVIEW

Charming and magical. Two things which The Tiger Rising (2022) strives for and mostly succeeds in, as we follow two children wrestling with whether they should free a tiger they find in a cage.


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The tiger in the cage

We follow Rob and Sistine (Christian Convery & Madalen Mills), from their first meeting on the school bus to their discovery of a tiger in the woods behind the motel where Rob lives with his father. The two children go on an adventure where they must learn about themselves with help from those around them.  Working from a book by Kate DiCamillo, Ray Giarratana writes and directs this beautiful journey. Along this journey they come to better understand themselves and the actions which they must take. 

Queen’s support

The big names on the poster are definitely ‘Queen Latifah’ and ‘Dennis Quaid’, and whilst they offer strong support, it is the young leads who must take most of the credit. Christian Convey and Madalen Mills both demonstrate their emotional traumas well in the film and shoulder the burden of lead duties well, maintaining a level of believability without lapsing into cloying sentimentality.   

Madalen Mills and Queen Latifah in The Tiger Rising
(L-R) Madalen Mills as Sistine Bailey and Queen Latifah as Willie May in the family/adventure film, THE TIGER RISING, a The Avenue release. Photo courtesy of The Avenue.

The look of love

Much of the film is beautiful to look at, the golden skies and careful lighting help to capture the enchanting story as it unfolds. Shane F Duffy (director of photography) and Ray Giarratana have combined well to create a look to the film which strongly enhances the tale (or should that be tail?). 

Cliches along the way

The story does stumble at times, due to a couple of well-worn cliches. The’ wise woman role’ has been done to death in movies; it is only a moment of fallibility in Queen Latifah’s character near the end which saves it from complete cliché. 

The other one is the addition of a couple of two-dimensional bullies. Every film that features a school must have a pair of bullies it seems.  The token gesture of these characters is further enhanced when, after fulfilling their sole purpose of bringing the two protagonists together, the bullies  are largely ignored and not allowed to develop.

Christian Convery and Madalen Mills in The Tiger Rising
(L-R) Christian Convery as Rob Horton and Madalen Mills as Sistine Bailey in the
family/adventure film, THE TIGER RISING, a The Avenue release. Photo courtesy of The Avenue.

Who is the intended market?

This movie is less of a children’s film and more of a family film. So don’t just leave the kids and run. The Tiger Rising is a film for young and old to come together over, containing issues around emotions that are potentially  quite complex for younger viewers. If left on their own, kids may feel that the film drags due to a lack of action and become bored. This is a  film that benefits from family viewing and open access to discussions which some of the themes may generate. 

Entertaining and warm if a little cliched at times

Overall, I feel that this movie is a delightful piece of entertainment that wraps you in a warm blanket as it weaves its tale. It can feel a little cliched at times for the more mature audience, but its gentle pace draws you in and provides a rewarding experience.

4 out of 5 stars


Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams
Images courtesy of Highland Media Group / The Avenue / Bay Point Media

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From video store manager to English teacher but generally just a complete nerd about all things related to cinema.

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