Every good story begins with a dream and this story is no exception. We are taken directly to the office of U.S. Adoption Services, where Jim (Joel Edgerton) and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) are informed that they “couldn’t have tried harder or done more” to have a child. In a bid to face their grief and move on, Jim offers Cindy a game to play away their pain.
This story is set in the small town of Stanleyville, owned and operated by the monopoly-like domination of the Crudstaff family. Cindy works at the Crudstaff family museum, under the stern management style of Bernice Crudstaff (Diane Wiest), while Jim’s employment at the local pencil factory is governed by the Crudstaff son, Franklin (Ron Livingstone).
The cinematography is worth mentioning in this exquisitely picturesque film, which is poetically directed by Peter Hedges, who also wrote the screenplay. The scenery blossoms before our eyes, reflecting all the wonder and magic of the Green’s Dream.
Archaic attitudes and small town mentality rule this cartoon-like aspect of the well-crafted story by Hamlet Zappa, juxtaposed with the expansive, forward-thinking approach-to-life, playfully explored by the Greens.
There are a number of universal messages delivered with tenderness in this delightful movie. Here are a few of my favourites…
• We learn to hide things about ourselves that other people may not understand.
• We don’t want to be perfect parents; we just want our children’s childhood to be perfect.
• Children don’t come with limitations on believing; they learn them along the way.
This uplifting film reminds us that it is OK to be different, in fact, that’s how it’s meant to be!
I have seen this movie twice in the past week and could easily sit through it again.
© Patricia Herreen 2013