Urban Cinefile
"I was a fat little 40 year old man who drank far too much and weighed twice his salary"  -Bryce Courtenay before he became an author
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday September 23, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



When young dreamers Sally Ann (Mackenzie Vega) and Ray (Abigail Breslin) rescue a Great Dane puppy from an oncoming truck outside the orphanage in which they live, all their dreams to get a dog are realized. They call him Chestnut and decide he must be heaven sent. When the sisters are adopted by Matt and Laura Tomley (Justin Louis and Christine Tucci) they face new challenges, moving to a New York apartment, as dogs are not allowed in the building.

Review by Louise Keller:
Chestnut is the cutest of cute family films about two young girls and their love for a dog. Suitable for all ages, the film plays young, but has plenty of charm. Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin was missing her front teeth and only 8 years old when she made this film, in which she plays the younger of two orphan sisters whose dreams come true. It's funny and involving and the two youngsters at the heart of the story deliver in every sense.

We first meet sisters Mackenzie Vega's Sally Ann and Breslin's Ray in their orphanage home somewhere in the country. Sister Helen, who looks after them is all bark without bite, but soon there is real bark with which to contend, when the girls save a Great Dane puppy and hide him in a top drawer. They call him Chestnut and the early scenes are predictably amusing as the girls (with the help of their friends) conceal his presence.
Chestnut is perfectly behaved and totally co-operative when it comes to hiding under beds, coats and in bags. When the girls are told they have been adopted by Matt and Laura Tomley (Justin Louis and Christine Tucci) and will move to New York to an apartment facing Central Park, their joy turns to angst when they discover not only that Matt is allergic to animals, but there is a strict 'No Dogs Allowed' policy in the building.

It defies logic that no-one notices there is a dog in the apartment, but we are well entertained as the girls keep him hidden as he grows bigger and bigger. Matt and Laura don't seem to think it is strange when the girls keep taking food into their bedroom, or take a suitcase to Central Park, an ideal 'place to poop'. Rosamaria (Irene Olga López), the non-English speaking maid becomes an amusing ally and there's a side plot involving two idiotic robbers attempting to line their pockets from the exclusive apartment building. Chestnut wearing a Halloween costume must be seen to be believed and the film comes to a satisfying conclusion like all fairy tales.

Published February 12, 2009

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(US, 2004)

CAST: Makenzie Vega, Abigail Breslin, Christine Tucci, Justin Louis, Irene Olga López, Barry Bostwick, Ethan Phillips

PRODUCER: Wolfgang Esenwein, Anna McRoberts, Robert Vince

DIRECTOR: Robert Vince

SCRIPT: Anna McRoberts, Anne Vince


EDITOR: Jason Pielak

MUSIC: Brahm Wenger


RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Backstage Disney, Behind the scenes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: February 4, 2009

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018