THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET | MOVIE REVIEW

THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET is a film I saw back at the Sydney Film Festival. It is a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, one of my favourite directors who has brought the world DELICATESSEN, THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN and AMÉLIE. He is a master of the visual and quirky and this film was going to be in glorious 3D at the grand theatre at the Cremorne Orpheum, we even got the organist in white tails :). To be honest I never got around to reviewing it and assumed it would go straight to home entertainment as there was no buzz surrounding it. Well the fantastic peeps at Madman Entertainment have partnered with the people at Potential Films and it is OUT TODAY at selected cinemas (I have listed them at the bottom). THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET is rated M and runs for 105mins – get thee butts to a quirky and amazing family film that is well worth a viewing.

 

THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | FRENCH MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

What a film title THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET is, it is incredibly apt for a film made by one of my all time favourites, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the man is a master of quirkiness and visual extravaganza. He has been one of my all time favourite visionaries since I first saw DELICATESSEN, the first truly visually exploding art-house film I saw, on the same weekend I first saw THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER. And so was further garnered my love of art house cinema. Then Jeunet released the most ambitious film in THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN and my love was finalised. Then he sprinkled some bloody AMELIE on top and the world stood up and took attention. The man is a marvel that makes surrealist movies left-of-field, imagine the high-end of French art, and there Jeunet sits.

So the second I saw that Jeunet had a new film out, his first in 3D, and it was screening as part of the Sydney Film Festival, I nearly wet myself with excitement and beat down old ladies with my broomstick to get tickets.

 

THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET MOVIE IMAGE
THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | T.S. SPIVET ( KYLE CATLETT) WITH HIS MOTHER, DR. CLAIR (HELENA BONHAM CARTER)

 

T.S. Spivet lives on a remote ranch in Montana with his parents, his sister Gracie and his brother Layton. A gifted child with a passion for science, he has invented a perpetual motion machine, for which he has been awarded the prestigious Baird Prize by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He leaves a note for his family and hops a freight train to make his way across the United States and receive his prize. But no one there suspects that the lucky winner is a ten-year-old child with avery dark secret…

This is the first Jeunet film I would call a whimsical family film, it is pure charm and delight in the vein of BABE or A DOLPHIN TALE. It does have a very dark secret and there may be a few swear words but this is Jeunet toning things down while maintaining his surrealist insanity of imagination. I have to be honest, out of Jeunet’s film, I find this his weakest, basically because his surrealism in other films is batshit insane and incredibly dark, I was expecting dark and this film is mostly light. Do not misinterpret my words, the weakest of Jeunet is still better than most, this film is just full of so much wonder but with all that whimsical wonder, it never peaked as I expected from Jeunet, I expected to run from the cinema hugging myself for another marvel from the master but was happy I saw the film but not in love with it. For all of its joyous oddity it came across as flat.

 

THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET MOVIE IMAGE
THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | THE SPIVET FAMILY

 

Two reasons are the cause for the flatness for me. 1) Kyle Catlett, he is adorable and cute and so freaking young, but he just wasn’t Macaulay Culkin in HOME ALONE. He had some bad scenes and while he also had some remarkable scenes the bond was lost. I just didn’t love him, sure he made me cry but I wasn’t 100% sold. 2) Helena Bonham Carter, she was so under-utilised and I understand why because of the story but it was an epic waste of masterful talent that comes to life in these quirky surrealist stories. I wanted so much more from her, but because of her despondency of circumstance I felt neglected from her onscreen.

That being said, that was it. As a whole the film is beautiful tale of heartbreak and also joy. It is filled with the wonder of Jeunet and it also has a small role that wins it all for me. The delightful Australian Judy Davis at her very neurotic best. For me she owned the movie, I wish there was more of her alongside Helena Bonham Carter.

 

THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET MOVIE IMAGE
THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | T.S. SPIVET ( KYLE CATLETT) NEXT TO A LADY IN A CONTRAPTION

 

If you have a young family, or want to see more of the works of the amazingly flamboyant cinematic surrealist Jean-Pierre Jeunet, or just want to see a decent film then get to one of these cinemas stat. As an art-house limited-release film I am not expecting a long run.

CINEMAS PLAYING THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET:

VIC Cinema Nova
NSW Palace Norton Street
QLD Palace Centro Cinemas
SA Palace Nova Eastend and Wallis Piccadilly
ACT Palace Electric
WA Cinema Paradiso (from 6 November)

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

 

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