Let’s be real. In 2020, it’s been easy to get stuck in a routine of quarantine, work, Netflix, sleep, and repeat. This year has made it extra hard to hold onto a sense of wonder or a reminder of the endless possibilities that we believed in when we younger. I say all of this to say that Come Away was not only a beautiful reminder of the imagination and wonderment we had as children, but it was also a welcomed breath of fresh air.
Come Away tells the story an imaginative origin story of two of the most beloved characters in literature – Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland – eight-year-old Alice (Keira Chansa), her mischievous brother Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and their brilliant older sibling David (Reece Yates) let their imaginations run wild one blissful summer in the English countryside. Encouraged by their parents Jack and Rose (David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie), the kids’ make-believe tea parties, sword fights, and pirate ship adventures come to an abrupt end when tragedy strikes. Peter, eager to prove himself a hero to his grief-stricken and financially-struggling parents, journeys with Alice to London, where they try to sell a treasured heirloom to the sinister pawnshop owner known as C.J. (David Gyasi). Returning home, Alice seeks temporary refuge in a wondrous rabbit hole while Peter permanently escapes reality by entering a magical realm as leader of the “Lost Boys.”
Check out the trailer below.
Come Away Trailer
Come Away Review: What I Liked and Didn’t Like
In this day and age, it’s difficult to re-tell the story of Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland – or even do a variation of it. It’s been so overdone, and we’ve all seen at least ten versions of each of these classic stories. However, Come Away does bring something new to the table, and it does so in a year that is the most important to do so.
The older we get, the more detached we become from that wild imagination we had as kids. How the treehouse in the backyard or at the park would magically transform into a pirate ship or how sticks would become swords in a deadly match…
Side note: I partook in both of those magical adventures in elementary school. Even got put in time out for “winning” my battle against Captain Hook on the playground in 1st grade.
But I digress. As an adult, there’s a very human realization that happens when watching this film. You remember just how incredible and adventurous you could make your world as a child. However small it may have been. We lose that with age, much in the same way that Wendy does in J. M. Barrie’s An Afterthought >and the final chapter of Peter and Wendy. The idea of never growing up, of being a Toys-R-Us kid, of just making it to summer break – so we were free to play to our heart’s content and not stress over homework… There’s a lot to be said for those moments – however, they may show up. Just the reminder of those feelings – that excitement we had as kids. Come Away does a superb job at encapsulating that and translating it to the big screen.
While I’ve probably struck a chord right now in kids born in the ’80s and ’90s, I do want to take a step back from the nostalgia that this film fired up in me and actually talk more specifically about the movie.
I found the acting to be delightful. David Oyelowo, Angelina Joie, and, more specifically, the children, Keira Chansa and Jordan A. Nash, all did a wonderful job. There is a handful of scenes where some of their character traits (and traits of other characters) seem a bit forced, but overall, no real complaints with the casting and performances.
From a visual standpoint, the film is stunning. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one amongst the nominees for Best Cinematography for 2020. The color editing, while saturated, is remarkable. You could hit pause at nearly any frame and have a beautiful piece of art worthy of being framed. The visuals are simply extraordinary.
Another aspect worth mentioning is the film’s music. I also expect the score here to get a nomination from the Academy for Best Original Score. It balances the story and visuals splendidly, and even more so – hits that emotional chord in the viewer – seamlessly tying everything together in a nice bow.
The film is rated PG – and while it does deal with some more advanced topics (that honestly get skimmed right over – drinking, gambling, running away, etc..), it’s a film that you can probably safely watch with the little ones in your life. Though to my earlier note, I would be prepared to talk about some of the more serious subjects that the film glazes right over.
As you can tell from the above, I rather enjoyed Come Away. It provides a clever take on two classic stories as it effortlessly weaves them together in a respectable origin story.
And even more so, the film reminds us what it’s like to be young and carefree – and full of imagination. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one – though I was still left wanting something more. I can’t put my finger on it precisely – but it just feels like this story isn’t quite finished yet (or it needed more editing), but I can say that I found enough to take me back to a much simpler time – and for that, I celebrate Come Away.
Come Away Review: