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‘Come Away’ (review)

Produced by Leesa Kahn, Andrea Keir,
David Oyelowo, James Spring

Screenplay by Marissa Kate Goodhill
Based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll and
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Directed by Brenda Chapman
Starring David Oyelowo, Angelina Jolie,
Anna Chancellor, Clarke Peters, Gugu Mbatha-Raw,
Michael Caine, David Gyasi, Derek Jacobi

 

Over the past decade, there have been more than a few attempts to adapt fairy tales to the big screen.  From Tim Burton’s Wonderland films to Hugh Jackman portraying Captain Hook in Pan, to Chris Hemsworth’s side character taking the lead from Snow White in two Huntsman movies.

And despite my love for the genre, none of them worked.  They were overproduced, bloated, and often felt like an attempt to develop an IP based on material in the public domain.

These films aren’t “magical”, and frankly, offer little with the exception of stunning production design.

Earlier this year, Benh Zeitlin’s Wendy was released to mediocre at best reviews.  Having little to go on rather than the trailer (I haven’t seen it yet), what impressed me most about this Peter Pan tribute was that the film took a practical approach to the material with most magical element being childhood itself.

Come Away is the latest film to tackle the genre.  And although the premise combining Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland into a single story sounds doomed from the start, it’s anything but.  For lack of a better word, it’s pure magic.

Come Away captures the innocence of childhood and what happens when that innocence goes away.

Set in England, the film focuses on the Littleton family, Rose and Jack (Jolie and Oyelowo) and their three children, David (Reece Yates), Alice (Keira Chansa), and Peter (Jordan Nash).  The three children are the best of friends and their imagination fuels their world.  When David suddenly passes from an accident, the entire family sinks into deep depression.  Watching their parents grieve, Peter and Alice decide to set things right, unexpectedly setting off a chain of events that set up their literary adventures.

The incredibly talented cast (especially the Littleton children) deliver fantastic performances. Director Brenda Chapman does an excellent job ensuring that the tone stays consistent.

Come Away is an enchanting family film that often reminds us in the healing power of love.

Come Away is playing in theaters and is available On Demand and Digital HD

 

 

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