Charming for the sentimental types
newmans_own - wrote on 11/26/07
The story owes more to OLIVER TWIST than mere inspiration; it’s practically a remake. Yet none of Dickens’ urgency is present, and though August faces problem after problem, there’s never a doubt in our minds that all will turn out well. August is actually pretty lucky for an orphan living alone in New York City. Not only does he find a homeless guardian who is not a pedophile, even though he has a horde of young children in his care, his extraordinary gift seems to instantly dispel any punishment coming his way. Near the finale, when the film attempts to create a villain, it suffers. Sure, August is sad, but everything is going to be all right. This, along with most of the film, will be eye-rollingly nonsensical and irritating to some, but the film has a few key elements that manage to retain the viewer’s attention.
Chief among them are the performances of Highmore and Russell. Ever since 2004’s FINDING NEVERLAND, Highmore has proven to be today’s premier child actor. His wide blue eyes practically dare people not to care. And with all the eyes-to-the-skies looks of hope that he and the other characters give in nearly every scene, it’s difficult not to be affected. As for Russell, although she’s been in the public eye for nearly ten years, 2007 will be remembered as her breakout year. Along with her performance in WAITRESS, she is quickly proving to be a great dramatic actress. Her clear, open face gives her an instant likeability reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn. The film’s giant plot holes (there are many) don’t seem so obvious we see Russell’s heart breaking over his missing son.
Full review at http://newmanscorner.blogspot.com