Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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Girls will enjoy 'Little Secrets'

Billy photo
Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 2, 2002

Movie: Little Secrets

  • Rating: PG

Summary: Emily (Evan Rachel Wood) is a violinist who is rehearsing diligently for her upcoming audition for the local youth orchestra. But in her spare time, she runs a business in her back yard. All the neighborhood kids who have broken something, or done something they shouldn't have, share their secrets with her for a small fee. She gives them advice, then graciously stores the evidence in a trunk and promises never to share their secrets. When a new family moves in next door, the two boys living there start to distract Emily. Her focus shifts from her music to all the secrets she's been storing, and eventually, everything begins to fall apart, turning her world upside down.

Little Secrets
[Samuel Goldwyn Films]
Evan Rachel Wood, left, listens to Landon Kunzelman in Little Secrets.
My view: This is a story with good morals, extremely sugarcoated but good, the plot of which I can't discuss without revealing part of the ending. The plot was actually imaginative and original. It is obviously a low-budget film, but the target audience (predominantly girls) will be satisfied.

Favorite part/Least favorite part: The younger actors (ages 10 and under) were much more enjoyable and believable in their roles than the older kids (13 and 14). The older ones caused me to roll my eyes on multiple occasions. The younger ones were likable and funny. They did the kinds of things you'd expect from a younger sibling.

Recommendations: Little Secrets will be enjoyed best by kids ages 9 to 12, especially girls.

Grade: C+

-- Billy Norris, 14, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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