Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jordan Nash, Keira Chansa, Reece Yates, David Oyelowo, Angelina Jolie, Anna Chancellor, Michael Caine, Clarke Peters, David Gyasi, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Derek Jacobi
Written by: Marissa Kate Goodhill
Directed by: Brenda Chapman
MPAA Rating: PG for strong thematic content, some violence, fantasy action, and unsettling images
Running Time: 94
Date: 11/13/2020

Come Away (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Promised 'Lands'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt, Brave) makes her live-action directing debut with this lightly charming work that gets big points for placing non-white actors in roles that have traditionally gone the other way. Come Away (not to be confused with the recent Come Play) imagines what might have happened if Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan were brother and sister. Alice (Keira Chansa) and Peter (Jordan A. Nash) share an imaginative childhood with their older brother David (Reece Yates), playing pirates and having tea parties; swords and a pirate ship magically take the place of sticks and an old broken-down rowboat. They adore their mother Rose (Angelina Jolie) and their father Jack (David Oyelowo), who makes model ships for a living. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes, and Rose begins drinking and Jack begins gambling (and he loses an important sale), and it's up to Alice and Peter to take a special family heirloom into London to sell it and save the family. There they meet many characters and see many things that will turn into elements of the famous books by J.M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll, and fans will have fun connecting the dots. Come Away gets off the ground a few times, but it never quite soars; it feels just a little short on magic. But it's worth a look, and it's arguably better than Benh Zeitlin's Wendy from earlier this year. Gugu Mbatha-Raw appears as the grown-up Alice in a framing device.

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