This is my favorite Disney movie of all time. It is, in my opinion, one of their finest. Why do I think so? First, I like its realism. It is not some fantastic fairy tale, nor is it some good-against-evil-good-eventually-triumphs story. There are no heroes or villains in this story. This lack of good and evil made the story and the characters seem more alive than the ones you usually see.
I also like the message this movie gives. It is simple yet powerful. The two main characters wanted only the most innocent of things - friendship. Yet society couldn't allow this friendship to be. This movie tugs at your heart, and it doesn't stop tugging. And the realism didn't diminish any by the movie's close. The main characters' problems remained unresolved, yet each finished the movie in contentment. I feel that this lack of a "everything's okie-dokie again" finish like you see in traditional animated movies gave this story a powerful element.
If you're looking for songs your children can sing over and over again, you've come to the wrong movie. Each song is sung in a flavorful yet discreet manner. Little orchestration. Yet if you're looking for memorable characters, you've come to the right movie. Each character is very well developed, motivated by true emotions and the things that the everyday person wants - love, food, companionship. Each character is vibrantly drawn, and this vibrancy is matched by the character's personality. I saw a real person within the animal. Nobody is created in an idealistic image.
From realistic characters come a realistic story. Nothing felt written or hacked. Everything felt like it was supposed to happen. There was nothing outlandish about the entire story. And if you're looking for comedy, you'll find none. This is pure drama, yet it's drama that kids can easily understand. This movie had a story that seemed like it could've easily happened to the average person. This is a rare and endearing quality.
Basically, I loved this movie for what it had, a heart of gold, but also for what it lacked, a traditional formula. If you're looking for a story with a difference and a bittersweet flavor, this is the movie for you! It is nice, quiet, yet provocative and emotional. To sum it up, it is good clean fun with a touch of heartache, a true drama!