REVIEW- Poor but joyful, the Littletons are a very close family, living far from the hustle-bustle of the city in an English sub-urban. Jack played by David Oyelowo, is a craftsman, who creates detailed ship miniatures while Rose played by Angelina Jolie is an adoring wife and a mother to three sparkling and charming young kids. Their imagination rambles in the woods where Alice (Keira Chansa), Peter (Jordan Nash) and David (Reece Yates) pretend to play with swords and rescue a ship from the pirates.
But soon an accident drives the family into dejection, and their troubles begin to escalate. Jack’s gambling problem reappears, and so do his debtors while Rose goes back to drinking. Alice and Peter decide to do what they can while struggling to make sense of the circumstances and the frequent flashes of images that seem to take them into the land of wonders. But, the events only worsen, even with their heroic acts.
While there is no lack of metaphors and images, writer Marissa Kate Goodhill and director Brenda Chapman choose to tell their story more sadly, almost to the point of being boring. Despite being a homage to legendary and iconic fantasies like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, the film spells no magic and remains stern, throughout.
There is not even a single moment of entertainment or light fun; neither is there any intense depiction of grief. By the power of their imagination, Alice and Peter are frequently transported to their respective worlds, but that does not give the audience a break from the film’s serious execution.
Angelina Jolie is at her best playing a mourning mother with poise and restrain. However, it is David Oyelowo’s emotions that will touch your heart. Actress Anna Chancellor as the elegant and uptight Eleanor is another well-played character in the movie.
Ultimately, all of this in service of a slow-moving parable that takes its audiences on a gloomy journey that may not find a mass appeal.