Picks and Pans Review: Duma

updated 10/10/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Alexander Michaletos, Campbell Scott, Hope Davis, Eamonn Walker

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Duma is the Swahili word for cheetah, and it's the name Xan (Michaletos) gives to the orphaned cheetah cub that he and his father (Scott) find wandering near their South African farm. When his dad dies, Xan, 12, decides to return the cheetah to its real home far to the north and embarks on the journey without telling his mom (Davis).

Warm, wise and packed with adventure, the tale of the boy's arduous trip will please both children and their parents. The lessons it imparts—about being resourceful, valuing friendship, keeping love alive through memory—are well worth learning. Inspired by a true story, Duma is directed with a sure hand by Caroll Ballard (The Black Stallion) and affectingly acted by Michaletos and its adult stars. Shot on location in South Africa and Botswana, the movie offers stunning landscapes and a Noah's ark of African wildlife. (PG)

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