Children on Their Birthdays

Children on Their Birthdays
Tania Raymonde

Tania Raymonde

Screen Time: 70%
Role: Lily Jane Bobbit
Age: 13 years old


Children on Their Birthdays

Rating: 8 (6 votes)
Directed: Mark Medoff
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Coming of Age


12 year old Lily Bobbit moves to Medda, Ala, and immediately makes an impression on the residents when she and her friends team up to outsmart a con man, the town is changed forever.

Movie Reviews


Returning to the 1940’s to a more innocent time, “Children On Their Birthdays” is a wonderful parable of love and community.  Contrasting the lives of children in a small Alabama town in 1947 with children of today is enlightening.  Although we were a nation at war then as we are now, the experience of a single mother in that setting was very different than it is today.  The community that supported widows and orphaned children was so grounded in faith and filled with moral courage that these mothers and children were not left to navigate the troubled waters alone.  Contrasting this experience with the destructive autobiographical tale told by Nikki Reed in the 2003 film “Thirteen,” we see here a moving example of the supportive power of community life.

At the center of the community in Medda, Alabama in 1947 was their segregated church, in which the whites sat in the main sanctuary and the blacks in the balcony.  This injustice was so ingrained in both ethnic groups that it was considered the “way things are” and each group lived their separated lives.  However, into this setting came a little girl who challenged them to express the love of Jesus Christ and exemplify His acceptance of all.

The story begins on the twelfth birthday of Billy Bob Murphy (Joe Pichler).  His best friend, Preacher Star (Jesse Plemons), and he were the mischievous cut-ups of the town, as Billy Bob’s father had been killed in the war and Preacher was an orphan raised by two older, cruel brothers.  Pulling pranks on two girls their age who had crushes on them, they are obviously struggling with how to behave.

But on this special birthday, a gift came to their community in the form of an “angelic” little girl named Lilly Jane, “Miss” Bobbitt (Tania Raymonde).  With a gentile manner that was hard to accept as real, Lilly Jane brought a whole new dimension into not only Billy Bob and Preacher’s lives, but into the entire community as well.

Taken by her beauty and refinement, Billy Bob and Preacher soon are fighting over her affections, competing against one another where friendship had once been strong.  This rivalry escalates when Preacher decides to bully another little twelve year old in their town, a beautiful young black girl named Rosalba Cat (Brazhal Brewer).  Coming to her rescue, Lilly denounced both Preacher for his bullying and Billy Bob for his cowardice in failing to stop him.  Proclaiming “God placed gentlemen on the earth to protect ladies,” she establishes a whole new explanation of their manhood than either had understood.

But the moment of greatest change comes when Lilly invites Rosalba to sit with her in the white section of the sanctuary.  Though some leave because “it’s not right,” the minister rises to the occasion to right the injustice and proclaim his support.  The film doesn’t continue to show what this change produced, but it is clear that this church and community will never be the same.

The story is larger than these “children on their birthdays,” with scam artists reminiscent of Mark Twain’s tales, and love stories among the adults as well, but above all this film portrays the power of community to surround us and create a place in which all of us would love to live.