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Tuck Everlasting

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
Tuck Everlasting

from Film Forum, 10/24/02

Tuck Everlasting offers something more traditional—a classic fairy tale executed with the style of Disney. It tells the story of a young woman drawn into friendship with a mysterious family who guard a precious secret that holds the possibility of immortality.

Ken James (Christian Spotlight) raves about the film's central romance, which he finds "pure and innocent." Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) is also thrilled that this "wholesome" film has a commendable "lack of profanity and sexual situations." Phil Boatwright agrees that it has "a great many redeeming values." Preview issues "a warning about some moderately violent scenes", but adds that the film may offer "interesting discussion points" for parents and teens.

Dale Wilker (Catholic News) cautions viewers not to forget that Tuck is a fantasy: "While it does not fully endorse a childish Peter Pan-like existence, it does depict immortality as resulting from the animistic forces of 'nature' as opposed to Christian beliefs in God and his salvation that leads to eternal life after death." Similarly, Dick Staub (CultureWatch) comments, "Unfortunately … Tuck Everlasting emphasizes a 'circle of life' worldview and is less explicit than the book in its Christian view of true life everlasting. Nevertheless it is a wonderful conversation starter."

Some find the film provocative and even profound. Michael Elliott concludes, "Tuck Everlasting achieves a delicate balance of romantic innocence and philosophical depth." Holly McClure (Crosswalk) and Dave Urbanski (Passageway) take time to highlight important questions about mortality that viewers can ponder and discuss after seeing the film.

But Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) says the film "leaves itself insufficient time to explore the very issues the story is about." Above all, he faults its unnecessary voiceover narration. Yet, he concludes, "Together with this spring's The Rookie, Tuck Everlasting represents Walt Disney Pictures' best work in years."

Mainstream critics debated whether the film was philosophical or merely frothy. Lou Lumenick (NY Post) calls it "solid family entertainment" and "handsomely crafted." Ty Burr (Boston Globe) calls it "solid and affecting and exactly as thought-provoking as it should be."

But Ann Hornaday (Washington Post) complains, "Its weighty themes are too grave for youngsters … the story is too steeped in fairy tales and other childish things to appeal much to teenagers."

Question for Ann Hornaday: If stories steeped in "childish things" like fairy tales are a turn-off to teens, how do you explain the widespread popularity of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Golden Compass among that age group?


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