Category: Nim's Island Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: August 27, 2008 | Publication: entertainment.ie | Author: Gavin Burke
Is Nim's Island the perfect kid's movie? With elements of Home Alone, CastAway, Swiss Family Robinson and Indiana Jones, cobbled together with a little Charlie Kaufman weirdness, it certainly tries its best to be. The only thing missing is a decent villain. Nim (Breslin) lives on a remote island in the Pacific with her Oceanographer father Jack (Butler), playing with her pets (a seal, a lizard, a pelican and a turtle) and reading her favourite books of adventurer Alex Rover (also Butler) - a pseudonym of agoraphobic author Alexandra (Foster) - Nim has the perfect life. However, when her father goes missing at sea, Nim needs the help of her hero Alex and Alexandra is forced to answer her call. Based on Wendy Orr's novel, Nim's Island is a sweet, warm-hearted adventure yarn that teaches kids to enjoy being a kid and not to be in such a rush to grow up. The industrious Nim wants to be both - a kid with adult responsibilities, but as long as there's a safety net. Helping out her father with his experiments, she veers from calling him Daddy to Jack and back again; Jack himself never corrects her on this and it seems that he needs her, rightly or wrongly, to act beyond her years too. It's only when Nim is left alone for the first time in her life that storms, erupting volcanoes and a cruise landing party threaten the harmony of the island. Eventually, Nim must give up her adult aspirations and regress to childhood to succeed: "I can't do this all by myself. I can't be the hero in my own story." The adults have to do the opposite, as they are at times childlike in their approach: Alexandra's agoraphobia is crippling, while Jack's sense of adventure is also damaging - he leaves his daughter alone on an island for two days? Come on. They must grow up to triumph. All analysing aside, what Nim's Island comes down to is this: will the kids have a good time? The answer is a resounding yes, and most of that is down to Breslin. Asking a child actor to carry a film on her own (she spends most of the movie by herself) was a big ask, but Breslin rises to the challenge, turning in a performance just the right side of cutesy without overdoing it.