After her parents are killed, a young girl is sent to London to live with her uncle and his family. Her uncle, who is a toymaker, secretly has the power to make his toys come to life, but ...
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After her parents are killed, a young girl is sent to London to live with her uncle and his family. Her uncle, who is a toymaker, secretly has the power to make his toys come to life, but he also maintains dictatorial control over his family and intends to exercise the same control over the new arrival. Written by
The romantic longings of adolescence confront the sexual urges of adulthood after an orphaned English girl and her two younger siblings move into the toyshop of their malevolent, misogynist uncle, a tyrant who stages debased one-act plays in his basement theater using life-size puppets. Fans of Angela Carter's hothouse Freudian writing will know what to expect, but her screenplay here was directed with a bum eye for mock-poetic effect: the magic realism slips into portentous fantasy with little transition and even less subtlety. The uncle's amusing stage production of Leda's encounter with the swan (the girl is real; the bird is a puppet) is more or less typical of the film's transparent symbolism, which reaches its zenith in an early scene meant (presumably) to represent the young heroine's impending womanhood. Locked out of the house one night while wearing her mother's (white) wedding dress, she climbs an apple tree (get it?) to arrive, conspicuously bloody, at an upstairs window
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