Nim's Island

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 31, 2008 | Publication: The Age (Australia) | Author: Jim Schembri
Publication/Article Link:The Age

Winning, visually lush children's adventure film, shot largely on Queensland's Stradbroke Island and featuring an unexpectedly funny, stereotype-busting performance by Jodie Foster.

Living on a remote mid-Pacific island with her scientist father (Gerard Butler, the spittle-spouting Spartan leader from 300), resourceful young girl Nim ( Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin - aka the thinking person's Dakota Fanning) is left alone with her digitally enhanced animal friends while dad goes on a research voyage in search of some luminous, photogenic plankton.

Nim is enthralled by the adventure novels of best-selling author Alex Rover (Foster) and is thrilled when she gets an e-mail from the writer asking for help in researching the next book. Nim thinks Rover, which is also the name of the book's Indiana Jones-type hero, is a man and often envisions her dad in the role.

Alex Rover, however, is in fact a middle-aged, anti-social single female shut-in with borderline OCD who pumps out novels without daring to leave her San Francisco apartment. When she realises Nim is alone on the island, however, she overcomes her fear and heads out on a comic journey to see her.

Meanwhile, Nim has to contend with the onslaught of cheesy, overweight Aussie tourists to her paradise home while her dad tries to survive the inclement weather that has stranded him at sea in a leaky boat with no motor or sailing mast.

Based on the best-seller by Wendy Orr, directors Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin (responsible for the wonderful 2005 tween romantic gem Little Manhattan) divide the screentime equally between the three parallel adventures while bleeding in a well-sculpted subtext about how all this adventurous happenstance is actually building a new family.

Breslin, who also did fine work in the recent rom-com Definitely, Maybe, is a delight, and after his romantic work in PS I Love You Butler continues to show that there is more to him than a ripping set of killer abs (which are not on show here, by the way.)

But it is Foster who steals much of the film with her turn as a twitchy, comic klutz. And it's a relief, too. After Silence of the Lambs (1991), Flightplan (2005), Panic Room (2002) and The Brave One (2007) it was starting to look like Foster was incapable of landing a role that didn't involve her nervously pointing guns and shooting people.

Starts Thursday.