12A. Twentieth Century Fox.
Jake (Asa Butterfield, Hugo) thinks he is ordinary. His parents certainly are. But grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp) brings magic and mystery into Jake’s life with stories of the children’s home on the island off Wales where Abe grew up, photographs of children with strange powers and warnings of marauding monsters.
Jake grows up in California much as other children until the night when he sees a white-eyed man (Samuel L Jackson), a hostile giant and finds his grandfather dying. Abe’s final words urge Jake to go to the island, find Emerson, postcard, ‘the loop’ ‘September 3rd 1943’ and ‘the bird’.
When Jake later reports what happened his unlikely story lands him in the office of psychiatrist Dr Golan (Allison Janney). Jake persuades his father to take him across the Atlantic to the Cairnholm off the Welsh coast, in search of ‘closure’. There he finds a field of slain sheep, a long bomb-damaged mansion and a group of oddly dressed children who take him time-travelling into the Loop.
Jake meets their shape-shifting guardian Miss Peregrine (Eva Green, Casino Royale) and little by little discovers his grandfather’s past and purpose and his own peculiarity. He learns of the threat to all peculiar children from a splinter group of peculiars morphed into monsters ever in search of an optical feast. Jake at flees his destiny but returns to fight for and with his new friends, rescue Miss Peregrine and fall in love with the beautiful Emma (Ella Purnell).
Eva Green and Ella Purnell fetchingly sport 1940s fashion amongst elegant architecture and dramatic coastal scenery. There are beautifully lit fun in the sun days, eerie dusks and danger-filled dark nights. Sparing use of CGI and top notch acting enable the audience to suspend disbelief and immerse themselves in this captivating tale of courage and the value of the unique.
Meet hot Olive, strong Bronwen, The Invisible Millard, Kite Girl, Bee Boy and Frankenstein Enoch. See the Raising of the Augusta. Discover why the adorable twins keep their faces covered, horticultural power, why sweet Claire can be a pain from the neck and what Allison Janney, Rupert Everett and Samuel L Jackson have in common.
This film version of Ransom Riggs’ novel is an all-Brit outing skilfully directed by Tim Burton. The actors playing the children are natural and credible. Eva Green makes a sinisterly benevolent Miss Peregrine, and Asa Butterfield’s Jake is hypnotically sympathetic. Rupert Everett is anachronistically villainous, Emma Purnell gives a charming and restrained performance and Allison Janney is suitably unnerving as Dr Golan. Catch the cameo of Judy Dench.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is perhaps not for the very young or easily alarmed. This film will have them checking under the bed until they remember why they are now safe. Stay with it long enough to admire the stunningly artistic opening credits and you’ll be hooked to hang around for explosions, pursuits and the Battle of Blackpool Pier. A thrilling yarn with fine performances and high production values. Definitely worth the price of pay-per-view or the DVD.
Ideal if you feel different, that you don’t fit in or have yet to find your niche.
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Chartreuse is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and promotional videographer. She has written a feel-better film review column for Heath & Happiness Magazine, and is the owner of Heypressto. Chartreuse’ greatest inspiration is Abraham-Hicks. Her favourite quote is ‘You can be, do or have anything you want’.