Come Away Theatrical Review
With Jolie and Oyelowo heading up this cast, one would expect great things from Come Away.
So many childhood fairytales began in some semblance of reality. The basis for these stories were real people – both good and evil- and how other imaginations of those individuals evolved into beloved bedtime stories. But what if the character weren't just based on real people but real people became characters? This idea is the premise behind Marissa Kate Goodhill's (Lost and Found) movie Come Away. Directed by Brenda Chapman (Brave), Come Away is a look into the origin stories of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Originally premiering at the Sundance film festival in January of this year, the film will open in theaters this Friday, November 13, 2020.
Living in the quiet, serene, and beautiful surroundings of the English countryside, the Littleton children, encouraged by their parents Rose (Angelina Jolie; Maleficent) and Jack (David Oyelowo; Selma), play, frolic, and invent stories and characters that lead to a stimulating childhood. All is right in their happy little world, until one day, tragedy strikes, and the eldest son, David (Reece Yates; Les Miserables) is killed by an arbitrary lightning strike while playing pirates and Indians with his younger brother, Peter (Jordan A. Nash; Aladdin). As is bound to happen when a young family member senselessly dies, the family falls apart never to be the same again.
Rose and Jack become distant as Jack returns to the London Underworld; a life he left behind to be with Rose. Rose begins drinking and perhaps goes slightly mad, trying to deaden the pain she feels from losing her firstborn. Peter, thinking it was his fault David died, seeks solace in a world where he never grows up and becomes the leader of a group of young boys. Alice delves deeper into her tea parties and her friends, most noticeably her stuffed rabbit, until she "escapes" from the reality that her remaining family is breaking apart.
With Jolie and Oyelowo heading up this cast, one would expect great things from Come Away. Sadly, even their wonderful acting skills can't save this mash-up of famous fairytales. It is interesting to note that Goodhill does an impressive job of interweaving various stand-alone stories blending them into one rather cohesive plot. Chapman does a few things right including bringing out strong performances from her younger cast members and using the camera to display the children's fantasy worlds coming to life. She also navigates through the beautiful landscape surrounding the Littleton's home. She also recruits Michael Caine (Inception) for a very brief but memorable cameo (if for no other reason than his comical mustache).
The cinematography is well-done, exquisitely displaying the woods where the children dream up stories and embellishing those dreams with on-camera colors and details that truly make the make-believe come to life. The costumes are also extremely well done with most of them being very simplistic yet apropos of the time period. The music, however, doesn't add or take away anything from the scenes other than mainly hearing it as background noise.
What the film offers in casting and visuals ultimately isn't enough to save this sinking ship. The story is slow-paced despite the fact that the film is only 94 minutes long. I found myself to be bored less than thirty minutes in and, for me, it didn't pick up steam at any point. I also thought the plot was depressing as this family is torn apart by loss and, as individuals, tend to make terrible decisions that ultimately affect themselves but each other as well.
The only way I can sum up this story is by saying it is an interesting idea, but not very good execution.
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 94 minutes
Distributed By: Relativity Media