ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  jay russell

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  fantasy

LENGTH  -  88 minutes

RELEASED  -  11 october 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  walt disney pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  tuck everlasting

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $15,000,000
tuck everlasting - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from tuck everlasting at

buy the dvd from tuck everlasting at

a young woman meets and falls in love with a young man who is part of a family of immortals.

filmed in and around baltimore, maryland.


picture from tuck everlasting

picture from tuck everlasting

picture from tuck everlasting


two out of four possible stars

The emotion of Tuck Everlasting is the element that will be foremost in the minds of the audience when they see this film. Whether it could have been more, and whether Disney, who produced the movie, should have put a dose of the twenty-first century into their film. As it stands currently, Tuck Everlasting is what many would call a "sweet" film, having none of the violence, drugs, or sex of other teenage love stories. This aspect will probably please parents, but the core of this story, the debate over immortality that the main character must wade through, is presented too on-the-nose for the audience to make any of their own decisions.

It is improbable that the filmmakers intended adults to attend this movie and have a spirited debate over the pros and cons over immortal life, since the sweetness factor really eclipses any real argument. This is not to say that the performances weren't satisfactory. In point of fact, they are one of the highlights of the story. Given the nature of the plot, it would have been nice to see more emotion (i.e., more tears) from the characters, but the truth remains that the actors are what will keep the audience in their seats. It might be worthwhile to say that Disney was aiming squarely at a very young audience for this picture, so beefing it up for older sensibilities wasn't a priority.

When really it should have been. This picture is missing a certain amount of magic that would have made it more like the live-action stories of Disney's heyday, like Pollyanna. But magic aside, it is still very easy to adore Alexis Bledel and Jonathan Jackson's characters as they fall in love. Again, a large amount of sweetness enters the picture during their courtship and romance. When Bledel's "Winnie" happens upon Jackson's "Jesse Tuck" while he is drinking from a secret spring that grants its users everlasting life, there is an immediate attraction between the two.

This romance is a nice element to fall back on when the other elements of the story (like plot) come up short. The film really suffers from not delving deep enough into its subject matter and as its running time is barely an hour an a half, it seems that the filmmakers could have put more substance into the picture. It is uncertain whether even very young children would get completely tied up in the film unless they had a fine appreciation for good acting. William Hurt and Sissy Spacek, playing Ma and Pa Tuck are some of the most venerable members of the cast and bring some of the needed substance to the film.

Ben Kingsley provides much of the comic relief for the movie and is one of the most dynamic characters of the cast. Amy Irving and Victor Garber give fine performances as well, playing Bledel's parents. And Scott Bairstow, playing older Tuck brother "Miles," offers some of the most teary dialogue in the movie. But the sum of all these good performances does not have the power to really move the audience. There is but one moment in the film, near the end, when older members of the audience might think of using their tissues. But for all the sweetness and light of the movie, there should have been more opportunities.

An element of the movie that is very impressive however, is the cinematography. The wooded locations of the secret Tuck house and the immortal spring are shot with an emphasis on "big is better." The wide aspect ratio allows the audience to widen their eyes somewhat at the giant trees and expansive sunsets. All the green in the movie really makes it beautiful and given that the actors are beautiful as well, it is certain the audience won't suffer for nice things to look at. And the sound of the movie, not necessarily the dialogue, but the score, is extremely well put together as well. There is never a sense that the filmmakers are trying to dictate to the audience what they should feel. The score never creeps into an emotional scene like an impolite visitor. It is used more effectively than that.

In taking the expert score, picturesque cinematography, and good performances under consideration, Tuck Everlasting is still missing some of the real Disney magic that would make the film appealing to all ages. The aforementioned Pollyanna is a film that will touch all ages, even though it is primarily a children's story. Tuck has its moments, but there are too few of them for the film to really make an impact. This film is better thought of as a film parents can see with their children that won't be annoying, but will be a film geared toward children nonetheless.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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