A 10-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family's ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.
In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.
T.S. Spivet lives on a ranch in Montana with his mother who is obsessed with the morphology of beetles, his father (a cowboy born a hundred years too late) and his 14 year-old sister who dreams of becoming Miss America. T.S. is a 10 year-old prodigy with a passion for cartography and scientific inventions. One day, he receives an unexpected call from the Smithsonian museum telling him that he is the winner of the very prestigious Baird prize for his discovery of the perpetual motion machine and that he is invited to a reception in his honor where he is expected to give a speech. Without telling anyone, he sets out on a freight train across the U.S.A. to reach Washington DC. There is also Layton, twin brother of T.S., who died in an accident involving a firearm in the family's barn, which no one ever speaks of. T.S. was with him, measuring the scale of the gunshots for an experiment, and he doesn't understand what happened. Written by
It's easy to fall in love with this tale of the ingeniously, slightly magical story of The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet. The story is touching, and quite charismatic, and the little boy is presented as quite a believable genius. Without being presenting as being too intelligent or arrogant and thus putting the audience off. He's both intelligent and likable, and modest too. Whilst charming and witty it's not exactly funny. Then again it's not a comedy. Now this is not a bad thing, as the film works really well for it.
The film comes across as this little humble tale of something possibly real, and emotionally touching, whilst being both enlightening and saddening at times. Nothing like 'Home Alone' or any of those sorts of movies. It's just that I can see how to some, the film may be perceived as being somewhat bland, and in some ways yes, but for the most part no. You really will become greatly involved all the way throughout the movie. The cinematography is brilliant, as you would expect from Jean Pierre Jeunet, director of Amelie and Micmacs etc. It accompanies the magical style and point of view that T.S. Spivet holds, without overpowering the film as a whole. The screenplay is brilliant, really working off of the original books. In addition, every character feels essential. It doesn't waste time with characters unneeded, and feels much more compact for it. The story has many a twist and turn in store for you and will make you well up inside. The reason mainly being in the ending, where there is a major plot point, and we can feel every emotion possible from every single character, because by the end, you really have grown to love them. You've connected with them, and you feel for them. Slightly strange at times and brilliantly acted, to which, I see great things in-store for Kyle Catlett (T.S. Spivet). T.S. Spivet is definitely one to watch with the entire family. Prepare yourselves, hearts will be uplifted. There's only two flaws with this movie... some people may feel like it's not "entertaining" or "funny" enough, to which it's not supposed to be... It's touching, brilliant and a really adventure, (And do you know what, it's a little bit funny too). The second flaw, is that some of the characters are a little bit of a caricature, especially with the stereotypical police officer and Two Clouds just being thrown in for good measure, where they just act as fillers, however, as fillers go, they're still really good.
Final Grade: A-
Not quite Jeunet's best work, but it does the trick. Original and clever, and connects emotionally... and a little bit surreal. The Jean Pierre hat-trick has been successfully pulled off. A worthwhile watch.
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