A whimsical film, most likely a polarising one. From the very start the cinematography is bold and challenging, self-consciously constructed and filled with oversaturated bright colours. Soon, however the film shows itself to be a warm and touching illustration of childhood.
But is exactly that; an illustration. More than a snapshot but less than a coming of age film. The self-aware and deliberate style of the opening reveals the whole film as a moving storybook, simple, symmetrical and with a limited colour palette. The characters follow suit, being suitably one dimensional throughout, with the amusing addition of a character known only as “social services”.
In fact the only two real characters are our protagonists, the two children who plot to run away together through pen-pal letters. These are the most inherently childish children I have seen in a film for many years. They are naïve, troubled, confused and frightened but they are not stupid as films so often portray them. The script plays to this world, the world where what adults dismiss as a spat between children is a real fight for truth and love to those involved. The children do not become adults, they parody them. There are echoes of Bugsy Malone as children seem to play at being adults, yet their struggles are for truly adult causes, self-determination, freedom and the ability to follow your heart.
I would recommend this film to almost anyone, I cannot guarantee that they will enjoy it but it is certainly a fascinating watch, a film that oddly continues to inspire my thoughts despite its apparent simplicity. Frankly I watched this as part of my personal goal to watch every single film nominated for any Oscar and I was shocked to find that such films as Silver Linings Playbook are higher in the Academy’s ranking than this odd shaped jewel.
I was a child and she was a child,In this kingdom by the sea,But we loved with a love that was more than love—I and my Annabel Lee—With a love that the wingèd seraphs of HeavenCoveted her and me.Edgar Allan Poe