Rated: PG for thematic elements, language and some reckless behavior. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 31, 2015 Released by: The Weinstein Company
Not as enthrallingly fresh as his Amelie, French auteur Jean-Pierre Jenuet returns to whimsically fabulist (and English-language) territory in adapting a Reif Larsen novel, kind of a coming-of-age, road movie with a familial slant and lush imagery in 3D.
The Young & Prodigious T.S. Spivet stars newcomer Kyle Catlett, Callum Keith Rennie, Helena Bonham Carter, and Judy Davis. Catlett's Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is an admirable portal (a good amount of voice-over) as a pre-teen science prodigy living on a Montana ranch having invented a perpetual motion machine for which he's been 'notified' by Smithsonian Institute sneering representative (a fine Davis) in a rather humorous sequence.
There's potential for a wider demographic to appreciate what Jenuet has devised here from the eccentric parents in Rennie's cowboy mausoleum to Bonham Carter's anecdotal etymologist. The family pet chews metal cans and older sister Gracie (Niamh Wilson) wants to be Miss Montana.
This child has a foreboding secret connected to a tragedy as T.S. is never really 'alone' with his twin brother who was into shooting and there is an arcane parental connection. Running away to D.C. to collect the Baird prize and running into unique individuals like Dominic Pinon's Two Clouds whose shoes aren't quite the same may have a familiarity to it; yet a climactic speech and a reunion offer some tender relief from what may be too sickly sweet and atonal for its own good.
Spivet pivots, nevertheless, with a certain amount of charm and uplift in its off-center hypnotic visually delightful way.
|The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet||B-||B-|