From the books by Daniel Handler; directed by Brad Silberling; starring
Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Jude Law, Emily Browning, Liam Aiken, Kara Hoffman, Shelby Hoffman, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly and Catherine O’Hara
I have just watched this film so I’m writing this completely raw in my mind. It’s a powerful film, but I can’t really explain why. At the end I felt, ‘Wow that was a really good film,’ but I can’t really explain why either.
I completely loved the surreal scenery and the bizarre mix of old and new. I loved the touches of humour and irony. I loved the Little Elf references that kept cropping up. I loved the perfect casting – Billy Connolly was fantastic – the kids were also; and somehow the director managed to tame Jim Carrey into not overacting, though occasionally I thought ‘Oh that’s a bit Grinch-like.’ I hope a documentary shows up about the making of the film because I’d love to know how much of the little Sunny was totally said ad-libbed and how much was added later.
I haven’t read the book, so this review is lacking in its comparison and how well it translated to the big screen; so I apologise for that. I have bought it, but I didn’t get much further than a few pages when reading it to my 8 year old, as it was just a bit too depressing, and the dark humour was totally lost on her. She did sit and watch it with me though, and she loved the film. There’s enough scary music and suspense and drama to keep her interest, though I’m certain she didn’t understand all that was going on. What age kids do actually read the books? I’d be interested to know. It must be 10 or 11 plus surely?
I felt the plot was lacking something. The children didn’t actually say a lot in the film. It wouldn’t have taken long to learn their lines. And I think because of this, although we were told one was a reader and one was an inventor (and one was a biter) we didn’t get much of a sense of their character and how they felt at the end of their journey. Or at least, the end of this part of their journey. Some more insight into their minds by talking to each other might have been good.
But you should definitely watch this film. You would not be wasting your money at the cinema for this one at all.
ps. And the gorgeous voice of Jude Law narrating makes you want to imagine him naked.