REVIEW: 'Nim's Island' a likable story of courage found

Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: April 6, 2008 | Publication: North County Times | Author: DAN BENNETT
Publication/Article Link:North Country Times

The roar of the sea plays a big role in the family adventure film "Nim's Island," but it's the roar of our own fears that dominate the story. Finding the courage to dim that noise is the film's message.

Based on the book of the same name, "Nim's Island" stars young Abigail Breslin ---- Oscar-nominated for her role in "Little Miss Sunshine" ---- as the title character, living with her widowed father (Gerard Butler) on a beautiful desert island, where the loving but heartbroken dad conducts his science experiments.

For friends, Nim has the creatures who inhabit the island, including birds and smart sea lions, and all is mostly well, even if the duo deal with occasional bouts of loneliness. Things change when Dad becomes lost at sea during an experiment, and Nim is left alone, wondering where he is.

For help, Nim sends e-mail messages to Alexander Rover, the brave and bold adventurer who stars in the books Nim reads to entertain herself and her active imagination. We see the real deal, though ---- that Alex Rover is actually the pseudonym for Alexandra Rover, a reclusive writer living in her San Francisco apartment, afraid to leave and deathly afraid of just about anything that dwells outside her four walls.

As played by Jodie Foster, Alexandra is comically fearful, a far cry from the fictional hero she puts through the paces as one of the world's great adventurers. To make matters worse, the character follows her around as an imaginary friend in her life, challenging Alexandra to take bold steps. Butler also plays the role of the imaginary Alex Rover.

When Alexandra receives Nim's e-mail, though, it serves as an opportunity to rescue Alexandra from her life of fear. She ventures from her apartment and begins a journey to the faraway island, determined to find the little girl living alone, and save her from peril. Upon seeing her hero, Nim is naturally surprised, even upset, but the two forge a bond, seeking to find save the lost father, and overcome their own fears and insecurities.

"Nim's Island" is an adventure yarn full of good messages, scenic vistas and creative ideas. The film allows Foster the rare opportunity to play things funny, and she's good as always, while the talented young Breslin gives off the sort of empathy that will make her character a likable young female hero for children ---- vulnerable, but brave and tenacious.

As much, "Nim's Island" is about the ocean and nature and the beauty of coastal Australia, where the film was shot. Buoyed by numerous advantage, "Nim's Island" anchors as quality entertainment.

B+ "Nim's Island"

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler

Directors: Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Rated: PG (for scenes of mild peril)

Running time: 95 minutes