I went into this film only knowing it was a Disney fantasy type of movie. "Fear not death, but fear the un-lived life" is the statement this movie attempts to make yet instead takes us on a teenage fantasy escape to never never land. `Tuck Everlasting', is the latest film adaptation from Natalie Babbitt's children's book of the same name. While failing to deliver this message with clever storytelling, it rather boorishly reverts to just coming right and and saying it several times. This kind of story has the potential for wonderful lively characters and rich emotional plotlines, but in order for this to be made into reality it would have to be taken out of the hands of Disney. Instead we get a movie that seems to target very young, naive, weapy eyed teenagers who probably don't have a true appreciation of their own mortality yet to really appreciate this films message.
Soothingly narrated by Elizabeth Shue we start our tale by meeting the beautiful, young, Winnie Foster (Alexis Bledel) of the buttoned-up, snobbish, well-to-do Foster family. We go on to meet the mysterious, reclusive, Tuck family that lives alone in the woods away from the attentions of mere mortals. The Tuck family has lived for over 100 years after discovering a life-giving well spring that stops the aging process once consumed. Winnie Foster is tired of her mother (Amy Irving) telling her how to behave and keeping her within the protected confines of her large victorian homestead, so she ventures out into the woods and discovers Jessie Tuck (Jonathan Jackson). The sparks fly as the two of them begin their romantic journey together into the dreamy innocent Disney-style courtship. Jessie finally reveals to Winnie that he and his family are nearly 100 years old and how they discovered the water at the base of the tree that gives them immortality. Meanwhile there is a creepy dark older man in a yellow suit (Ben Kingsley) who seems to have inside knowledge of the nature of the Tuck family. This man eventually finds the family and demands they show him the source of their powers to live without aging. Winnie must also make the choice to drink from the trees water to live forever with Jessie or go on with her life as it is. Many wonderful supporting performances are given here including William Hurt as the father, Angus Tuck. Sissy Spacek plays the Tuck mother, Mae Tuck and Scott Barstow plays the older brother, Miles Tuck.
Summary: This movie was entertaining, but a bit on the dull side. With the subject matter and story, I would like to have seen a much more emotionally engaging journey into the topics of aging, mortality, love and loss. This film seems to pander to a very young audience in many scenes while pulling out and into more mature scenes in others. I wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to be experiencing this film and what flavor it was sending me. The characters were well painted, but not given a lot of material to work with in the writing to deliver an impact on the audience. Im sure this film will find a scattered audience somewhere, but for me it lacked any real creative edge.