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This movie loves to present itself as the ultimate coming of age story but is it really? It's not a bad movie at all but as a coming of age movie it is surely lacking, mostly due to the approach that it's taking with its story.

In essence the story seems like a pretty solid and effective one (after all, it's also based on a very popular novel) but tonally the movie seems a bit off. It's not like this movie is devoid of any emotions but it's still hard to care for the movie its main characters and feel for the story. This is all mostly due to it that the movie is going more for a sort of adventurous approach, as if the characters are going on a fun journey to learn about themselves and grow as persons. But the situations they get in are actually far from fun and pretty dangerous as well at times. Perhaps the movie was afraid that with a more 'dark' and serious approach the movie would be too heavy to watch and they decided to go for a more safe story approach instead. Well, it's not like it makes the movie a bad one to watch but it still feels like a bit of a missed opportunity that the movie didn't had to guts to go truly dark and get more intense at times, emotionally.

The movie takes the sort of approach that I could see work for a more fantasy-like or surrealistic-like children's drama, in which most of the events take place in the children's minds and their perspective of the world lets certain things come across bigger and more dangerous than they in fact really are. But no, this is a movie set in the 'real world', with real life characters and real life like situations. It didn't really work for me, though at the same time its light approach also keeps the a movie a perfectly watchable one and an also somewhat cute one, all throughout.

The two young actors, Annalise Basso and Chandler Canterbury, did a pretty good job with their roles. Or perhaps I should say that they at least aren't terrible. It's often risky for a movie to have a young kid as your main protagonist, let alone two. Generally speaking, children just aren't amongst the greatest actors but in this case Basso and Canterbury manage to carry the movie well on their own. I just don't think that we'll get to hear a lot more of these two young actors in the near future but that's the 'curse' most child actors suffer from of course. I also have to say that the chemistry between the two was lacking a bit. Sure, they come across as some good friends but you feel that they needed to be more than just that. They needed to be two persons who truly connected to each other on a very personally level and changed each others lives indefinitely. Of course you shouldn't blame Annalise Basso and Chandler Canterbury for this and rather put the blame on the movie its writer and director D.J. Caruso, for the approach that he is taking with the story and storytelling.

It honestly is a perfectly good movie to watch. Just don't expect to be blown away or get moved on a very personal and emotional level, no matter how much you are able to relate to any of the two main characters.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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