Come Away (2020)

Director: Brenda Chapman

Running Time: 94 Minutes

Certification: PG

Starring: David Oyelowo, Anna Chancellor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Reece Yates, Angelina Jolie, Michael Caine, Keira Chansa, Jordan A. Nash

Best known for her work in animation, director Brenda Chapman blends the worlds of Lewis Carroll and J.M. Barrie for her live-action debut as a director. Within their imaginations, siblings Alice and Peter (Keira Chansa, Jordan A. Nash) have adventures based upon the works of Peter Pan and Alice In Wonderland. When their eldest brother dies, the lines between fantasy and reality blur, as the siblings undertake a real adventure to help their parents. What originally serves as playtime fun becomes an escape from life's harsh realities.

Among the starry cast are David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie as Jack and Rose, the parents who are always supportive of their children and their vast imaginations. When tragedy strikes, Jack spirals into a gambling debt, and hope drains from Rose, who turns to alcohol. Both Peter and Alice feel guilt over their brother's death, and just want to help however they can. Thanks to the wonderfully talented cast, you're utterly convinced about their relationships, so that when tragedy strikes, you believe how it affects the characters.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a clear idea over where the story should go. Marissa Kate Goodhill's screenplay has muddled ideas, throwing out an array of plot points, but never enough time to properly develop them. When it comes to the mixture of reality and fantastical elements, they feel at odds with each-other. They should complement one another, but the family getting beaten down by life feels like time-filler, with more of an interest in aping classic tales. Too many elements are left in the air by the end, glossing over so much to reach the neat finale, but it ultimately rings hollow.

Come Away is available in cinemas from December 18th