Because of Winn-Dixie is a 2005 film adapted from the book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo and directed by Wayne Wang. It was produced by Walden Media and released by 20th Century Fox. The role of Winn-Dixie was played by two Picardy Shepherds, a rare breed from France.
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12-year-old India Opal Buloni (AnnaSophia Robb) has just moved to the small town of Naomi, Florida with her father, a preacher (Jeff Daniels). The move has resulted in her losing all her friends, and she longs to make new ones.
While in the Winn-Dixie supermarket that summer, she encounters a scruffy dog that is wreaking havoc. She claims that it is hers, and names it Winn-Dixie. She discovers that Winn-Dixie becomes friends with everyone he encounters, and she makes some new friends in the process. She also rekindles the relationship with her father, and learns ten things about her mother who abandoned them seven years ago. Opal once describes the preacher as an old turtle, always sticking his head into his turtle shell and never wanting to come out into the real world, most likely because of how sad he is about her mother, whom he is still in love with. One of the people Opal meets is Miss Franny Block (Eva Marie Saint), a kind and somewhat eccentric elder librarian, who runs the Herman W. Block Memorial Library and tells her many great stories, including one involving a bear. According to Mrs. Franny, she was reading a book a long time before while sitting in the library, and suddenly found a bear standing in front of her. To scare it away, Mrs. Franny threw the book she was reading (War and Peace) at the bear. The bear took the book with it, which is why Mrs. Franny has never forgotten the experience.
Opal also meets Gloria Dump (Cicely Tyson), a blind recovering alcoholic with a mistake tree in her backyard that has beer bottles hanging from it, which she describes as the ghosts of all the things she has done wrong.
One day during the summer, fed up with Winn-Dixie, the landlord of the Bulonis' trailer park, Mr. Alfred (B.J. Hooper), orders the preacher to get rid of the dog. The preacher calls the pound to take Winn-Dixie away. Opal begs her father in tears not to let them take Winn-Dixie. Unable to see his daughter this upset, the preacher tells the people from the pound to return Winn-Dixie, claiming that he is not the dog he called about. Mr. Alfred watches this. He tells the preacher that he must find a home for Winn-Dixie by the end of the summer.
Opal gets a job at Gertrude's Pets in order to be able to pay for an expensive leash and collar for Winn-Dixie, and befriends a worker there, Otis (Dave Matthews), a shy ex-convict with a passion for music. She also meets a girl named Sweetie Pie Thomas (Elle Fanning) who is eager to get a dog like Winn-Dixie. Opal now feels happy that she has made so many friends, learning many things from each of them and finding out that each of them has a sad and lonely past. Opal eventually gets to keep Winn-Dixie. Later, a thunderstorm comes while Gloria is having a party at her house and Winn-Dixie, being afraid of thunderstorms, runs away. While Opal looks for him, her father wants to give up and she blames him for her mother and Winn-Dixie running away. Soon, they go back to the party and Winn-Dixie returns. They sing as the credits roll.
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