Mia and the White Lion

Mia et le lion blanc
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Mia and the White Lion
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IMDb: 6.5
In the middle of Africa, there is a lion farm  managed by the Owen family. They have recently   moved here from London, and the eldest daughter  Mia is not happy about it because she misses her   friends. She also avoids spending time with the  animals, not even wanting them in the same room   as her, unlike her brother Mick, whose mental  health is poor. Mia keeps getting in trouble at   school because she has no friends, which worries  her mother Alice, but it only makes her father   John angry. He tries to point out to her how  lucky she is to live in such a beautiful place,   but Mia doesn't listen. One night, Mick is having  sleep terrors again, so Alice tells him a story   to help him calm down. It's the tale of the shaman  of the Shangaan people, who predicted the miracle   of a white lion being born on Christmas. Such a  miracle actually happens when Christmas arrives at   the Owen household and John shows up with a white  lion cub they name Charlie. The chances of a white   lion are one in a million, so Charlie's presence  on the farm will be big to attract more tourists,   but Mia ignores him too. Later, Mia tries  to videochat with a friend from England,   but he is busy so he can't keep her company  right now, which makes Mia cry. Charlie comes   over and tries to comfort her, and Mia does smile  when she finally dares to pet the little guy,   but she denies liking it when Mick teases  her for it. Things get annoying for her   again when she's trying to practice soccer  outside and Charlie comes to steal her ball,   bursting it. Mia picks Charlie up and takes him  inside to her family, complaining all the way and   getting angry when John tries to distract her with  the pancakes maid by the maid, Jodie. One morning,   Mick falls asleep while feeding Charlie, so the  lion goes to bother Mia instead. She's hesitant   at first, but eventually, Charlie wins her over  and as she takes on the duty of feeding him,   the two of them bond. From then on, Mia begins  playing with Charlie and Mick every day.   By the time Charlie turns four months old, he's  doubled his size and become Mia's best friend.   He's also learned how to follow her orders to a  tee, becoming a well-trained pet. Alice can't help   noticing that Mia is still sleeping with Charlie,  so she reminds her soon the lion will have to stay   outside - he'll be too big to be inside and,  most importantly, too dangerous. One night,   Mia is reading with a flashlight under the  covers a book about lions. Something about the   setup bothers Charlie and he starts pawing at Mia,  but she isn't scared and knows it's just a test.   This connection with Charlie inspires Mia to begin  visiting the other animals on the farm too, so she   starts joining her dad when he goes out on his  feeding rounds. She takes the chance to ask John   how the farm makes money, so he explains that once  the guesthouse is ready, they'll get the attention   of tourists, filmmakers, and researchers; they  also sell lions to zoos and other breeders. Mia   forbids John from ever selling Charlie, but John  doesn't care and reminds her that a lion will   always be wild, never a pet. Sometime later,  Mia is leaving for two weeks on a school trip,   so Charlie needs to stay in his enclosure. One of  the farm employees picks him up to take him there,   and Charlie scratches him in protest. Mia  wants to stay and help but she can't be late,   so the employee uses a chain to pull Charlie into  the enclosure with his friends. During the trip,   Mia misses her lion too much and is distracted,  not even paying attention during the soccer match   she's part of. Charlie misses her as well, so  he stops washing and eating while she's gone,   and he doesn't defend himself from other lions  either. Mia's class goes on an excursion to   abandoned prison that makes Mia think of the  farm enclosures. Unable to stand the idea of   Charlie being locked up, she decides to escape  from her teachers and hitchhike her way home.   By the time Alice gets a call from the school to  inform her what's happened, Mia is already back,   feeding Charlie and singing for him. When  Charlie turns one year old, he's bigger than Mia,   yet he still likes to lie down on top of her.  Jodie sees this and worries about her safety,   but Mick tells her it's fine because Mia has  her lion enchanted. However, Charlie's bigger   size also brings trouble: now he can reach the  dinner table and steal their food directly from   the serving bowls. He's also eaten the tv, and  likes to chase the animals Mick takes care of.   John yells at Mia for the mess that is in the  house and orders her to keep Charlie outside.   One afternoon, Mia is watching some lion  documentaries and gets a call from his   friend in England, so this time, she's  the one that turns him down. Suddenly,   some screaming can be heard outside, and Mia runs  out to discover Charlie has scratched a tourist.   This is his first time surrounded by so many  people and he got scared, so Mia tries to explain   that, making a scene in front of everyone because  her father won't listen. One of the employees   takes the tourists away to walk the trail while  an angry John drags Mia back inside, reminding her   that the farm needs to make a profit to be able  to help the lions before sending her to her room.   The next day, John is visited by Dirk, who is  a little too flirty and touchy with Alice. He   wants to do some business with the lions, but  John informs him he doesn't want to work with   him anymore. Mia still spends time with Charlie,  but from on it's always outside in his enclosure.   One afternoon, Alice notices Mia's arms are  covered with scratches and asks her not to   play with Charlie anymore. Mia refuses, explaining  the lion is just learning to control his claws and   their relationship is based on trust. To prove her  point, Mia lets Charlie jump on her from behind,   which is usually against the rules. This gives  Alice a scare, but they're just playing around.   In the evening, the family goes out together for  dinner, and Mia doesn't lock the enclosure well,   so Charlie escapes while they are away. The reason  the family is celebrating is that the farm is   finally making an actual profit. Their grandfather  hadn't done a good job taking care of the farm,   so the family had lived in London for a while  until they were ready to return. When the family   gets back to the farm and sees the door open, John  immediately calls his employees to go looking for   Charlie. Mia isn't allowed to go with them, but as  soon as they leave, she sneaks out to search too.   The fence has a new lock that Mia can't open  so she considers climbing over, but Mick shows   up and reminds her the fence is electric. She  doesn't need to worry though, because Mick has the   solution: he calls for one of his elephant friends  and makes it break the lock with its huge paw.   The siblings enter the wild area and easily find  Charlie, who turns out has escaped to rescue one   of Mic's pets. One of the employees finds them  too and takes pity on the kids, allowing them   to return to the house before John also finds  them. Time passes and at the age of two, Charlie   is a fully grown lion. Ignoring her father's  orders, Mia keeps on spending time with the lion,   even playing music for him in an old car. One  afternoon, she convinces Mick to join her in the   enclosure, and things go well until Alice sees  them. She begins yelling and asks John to come   with his tranquilizer gun, this scares Charlie and  makes him accidentally push Mick to the ground.   The boy hits his head and a doctor has to  come over to check on him - fortunately, it   isn't anything serious, but the parents have had  enough, especially when Mia tells them this isn't   Charlie's fault but theirs for scaring him. John  wants to sell Charlie, but Alice thinks that will   destroy Mia, so he agrees to keep him only as long  as Mia doesn't enter the enclosure ever again.   A year later, Alice and Mick are coming back from  therapy, but Mick is in a worse mood than usual   because they've changed his doctor. Mia wants to  know more about what Mick is going through, but   Alice refuses to share, so she goes to see Mick  herself. To make him feel better, Mia tells him he   isn't useless and reminds him of how many animals  he's helped, then takes him outside to show him   her secret. Sneaking into the enclosure, Mia plays  with Charlie, who she's visited every day behind   her father's back. Mia tells Mick that the tale is  true: there's something special about white lions,   and one day both Charlie and Mick will be free.  To keep this memory with him, Mick records it all   with his phone. That evening, the siblings get a  laugh when another one of Mick's pets gives Jodie   a scare by appearing inside one of her pots.  It's a lovely family moment that John wants   to record, so he takes Mick's moment to do so and  accidentally finds the video of Mia with Charlie.   Furious to see his rules broken, John decides  he'll sell Charlie to the first buyer.   Charlie is moved to a different enclosure  with the other wild lions, and Mia goes to   see him to promise him she'll rescue him later.  She ends up falling asleep against the fence,   so the next morning, she wakes up to find  John and the employees arriving in a truck.   They put a lioness to sleep to be sold, and Mia  takes the chance to climb on top of the trunk   and follow them to discover where the lions are  taken to. When they make it to the destination,   Mia is disgusted to find out the truth behind  these sales: Dirk runs a business where tourists   can pay to shoot a lion in a safe space and keep  the trophy. John is ashamed of being there too,   but Dirk doesn't let him play nice and reminds  him it's his business that allows John to keep   the farm. Not having much of a choice, John  promises Dirk he'll bring Charlie in two days.   When Mia returns home, she does some research  on the internet and finds out this is how many   sanctuaries in Africa legally operate to survive:  they sell one to save a dozen. The knowledge her   father has been doing this haunts her, and she  can't even look him in the eye during dinner,   so she leaves without eating. Mick goes to check  on her and Mia tells him the truth because he's   the only one she can talk to. She's also decided  she wants to escape with Charlie and take him to   the Timbavati Game Reserve, a refugee for  white lions, and Mick accepts to help her.   He quickly plans a trip for Mia: there'll be two  days by car, then she'll have to continue on foot   for five or six days. Mia takes as much food as  she can in her bag, and Mick decides to give him   all his savings as well. Mia escapes while  everyone is sleeping and is found by Jodie,   but she isn't there to scold her - she's there to  help. Jodie gives Mia the keys to the enclosure,   so now she's able to free Charlie and they can  run away together. Before leaving though, she also   frees a bunch of other animals. This way, when  her family wakes up the next morning, they'll be   locked inside until the employees arrive to help,  earning Mia an advantage in time and distance. As   soon as the animals are back in their enclosures,  John goes looking for Mia in his truck,   and Mick sends Mia a message to warn her. This  is the part of the plan: when John finds them,   he's distracted by Charlie, so Mia approaches  him from behind and steals the tranquilizer gun.   After calling him out for his lies and his lack  of will in changing the world, Mia puts her dad   to sleep with a dart and steals the truck. Now  Charlie can safely travel in the back without   being seen. Mia sends a text to Mick to tell  him of John's location so he can be rescued,   and John wastes no time in calling the police. So  when Mia stops by a gas station to refill the tank   and get some food, she has to get out quickly  before the clerk notices her face on the news.   The police also put roadblocks in Newlands, so  Mick calls Mia to warn her she needs to get off   the highway. This causes Mia to make a sudden,  dangerous turn on the road to avoid the cops,   ending up in the middle of a humble town.  When she almost falls asleep behind the wheel,   Charlie tries to check on her, and her frustration  causes her to break down and ask the lion to kill   her already. Charlie calms her down with a quick  swipe of his paw, and then the two of them fall   asleep on top of the truck while watching the  stars. Meanwhile, John gets a call from Dirk   demanding to know where Charlie is, so John tells  him the lion isn't for sale anymore. The next day,   Dirk shows up at the farm because he's seen the  news, so he threatens with finding Charlie first.   Desperate not to let him get there first,  especially when he's informed that the police   have been given permission to shoot, John takes  Mick and Alice with him to join the search. Back   to Mia, she finishes the driving part of the trip  with bad news: the map she's been using is old,   and the area she's supposed to cross now  has been taken over by a shopping mall.   Since she doesn't have options, Mia pulls a  risky move and takes Charlie out of the truck   to make him enter the mall with her. Everyone is  scared of the lion so they stay away from them,   and this allows them to easily find the back door  and finally make their way into the wilderness.   Charlie is happy to be in the wild and even begins  hunting, which allows Mia to save some meat for   later. After Mia spends a night sleeping on top  of a tree, Dirk catches up with them and tries   to capture them, but Charlie attacks Dirk and  scares off the tourist that wanted to buy him.   After the pair escapes, Mia's family arrives,  and John orders Dirk not to show his face again.   Alice is confused by all this so John finally  confesses that Mia knows about the hunting.   An argument ensues because accidentally seeing a  kill was what traumatized Mick the last time and   made them flee to London, so John had promised  it wouldn't happen again. To stop their parents   from arguing, Mick tells them Mia is taking  Charlie to the Shangaan people's reserve.   The trip begins to take a toll on Mia, who  is sunburned and has run out of provisions.   When they finally make it to Timbavati, he can't  move anymore, so Charlie must cross the last   stretch alone. Unfortunately, her family and the  cops arrive as well, and they're ready to shoot.   Remembering his daughter's words, John  decides he does want to change the world   and puts himself between Charlie and the cops,  allowing the lion to cross the bridge and enter   the reserve where he legally can't be hurt.  Mia reunites with her family, and months later,   they visit the reserve together to watch  Charlie be happy with his new babies.   The number of lions in Africa has gone down a 90%  in the last hundred years. They aren't considered   an endangered species, but at this speed,  they'll disappear from nature in twenty years.
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