Tuck Everlasting

Tuck Everlasting is probably one of the blandest adaptation's of a popular childrens novel on the market. Natalie Babbit's novel has enchanted youngsters for generations, and it's hard to see why from watching the latest film version. Tuck Everlasting is by no means a bad movie. However, it's not really a good movie. It just is. The movie is about a young girl who meets a strange family living on her family's land. It takes place a little over one hundred years ago, when America was still pushing westward and cars are competing for dominance on the road with horses. Winnie Foster (Alexis Bledel, Rushmore, WB's The Gilmour Girls) is a young girl, and since this is essentially a period piece, she automatically has a certain set of character traits.

Winnie is bored with life. Her parents want her to play the piano, wear corsets, and attend a prestigious finishing academy. Winnie is headstrong. She wants to play with the boys, run around and explore the forest, and anything else that will help set her apart as an individual. Her stuffy life changes when she meets Jesse Tuck (Jonathan Jackson, Insomnia, On The Edge). Tuck lives with his family in a shack on Foster land. Nobody knows about them, and they do their best to stay hidden. When Winnie meets Jesse, he brings her back to his family and they essentially prevent her in a very nice way from going back to her parents. The Tuck's secret is that they are immortal. They drank from a spring on the Foster land, and have lived for over one hundred years. Jesse's brother Miles (Scott Bairstow, New Best Friend, Semper Fi) thinks it is a curse. Their father Angus (William Hurt, Changing Lanes, A.I.) is much more pragmatic, while mother Mae (Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom, The Straight Story) is just glad to have another woman around.

Although initially horrified, Winnie begins to love the simple life that the Tuck's live. They take their time and do everything the slow way, appreciating the finer things in life. She begins to fall in love with Jesse, who was about her age when he stopped aging. Meanwhile, Winnie's parents are frantically searching for her, and a man in a yellow suit (Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast, The Triumph of Love) is looking for her and the Tucks. The Tucks are hiding because they believe that people who know their secret will want to use to power of the well for their own ill-gotten gain. The bulk of the movie, adapted by Jeffrey Lieber and James V. Hart (Contact, Muppets Treasure Island), is about Winnie discovering all there is to life; everything that she was missing before. Jesse and the Tucks open her eyes to a whole new way of experiencing life.

Director Jay Russell's (End of the Line) last effort was My Dog Skip, in which he was able to evoke a sense of nostalgia for things past and deftly portrayed the awkward period when a child is growing up. His skill in My Dog Skip probably earned him the director's role here in Tuck Everlasting, which has some similar themes. The difference is that this movie also spends time (probably a little too much time) on the budding relationship between Winnie and Jesse. This takes time away from any story of Winnie coming-of-age, and makes the entire story a little more mundane. Further on, Tuck Everlasting's tone changes to one of mild action, with Kingsley's character pursuing the Tucks. This is a good picture for families to watch together in that there is not much of anything offense, but the flipside is that there sometimes feels like there is not much of anything.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated PG for some violence.

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