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Tuck Everlasting

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Tuck Everlasting

Starring: Jonathan Jackson, Alexis Bledel
Director: Jay Russell
Rated: PG
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genres: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: William Hurt, Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Victor Garber, Ben Kingsley, Scott Bairstow

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

What is a blessing to one person is sometimes a curse to another. The Tuck family's gift proves to be both a blessing and a curse.

Director Jay Russell, who last brought us the delightful and heart-warming MY DOG SKIP, is back with TUCK EVERLASTING, a sweet little picture that feels like a short story but is based on Natalie Babbitt's novel. Both a serious fairy tale and a lovely romance, it stars two attractive, relatively unknown actors, Jonathan Jackson and Alexis Bledel, as Jesse Tuck and Winnie Foster, a pair of 17-year-old lovers who keep their romance strictly within the film's PG-rating. It's another heart-warming production that Disney should be justly proud of.

Complimenting Jackson and Bledel is an especially fine cast of supporting actors, including William Hurt and Sissy Spacek as Jesse's parents and Victor Garber and Amy Irving as Winnie's parents. In a scene stealing role, Ben Kingsley plays the character known only as the "Man in the Yellow Suit." The story is set just before the outbreak of World War I in America, but even back then a guy in a bright yellow suit, a big hat and long hair stood out. Think Liberace channeling Buffalo Bill. Kingsley isn't asked to say much, but, with his outfit, speech is pretty much superfluous anyway. His mysterious character is tracking the even more mysterious Tucks for reasons not initially stated. Some reviewers -- probably most -- will reveal why the Tucks are in hiding, but I won't.

Winnie is a rebellious rich girl who yearns to get out of prison. She spends her life trapped behind the iron bars of the fence that surrounds her yard. Although the bars are there to keep strangers out, she views them more as keeping her in. Through what proves to be a fortuitous set of circumstances, Winnie finds herself being sort of kidnapped by the Tucks. While a nominal hostage, she discovers freedom for the first time in her life, and it is absolutely exhilarating.

Handsomely filmed and beautifully scored, the movie is set mainly in the lush and deep woods near Winnie's house. The ending is perfect and will likely leave a smile in your heart and perhaps a tear or two on your cheek.

TUCK EVERLASTING runs 1:28. It is rated PG for "some violence." It would be acceptable for kids of all ages but would probably interest only those over seven.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ***, commenting that the plot had some interesting new parts yet the romance was classic.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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