We may not have reached a post-racial moment in reality, but the movies have found one in Come Away, the screen's latest storybook mashup.
To further complicate matters, young Peter blames himself for his brother’s death. On the eve of David's departure for an elite boarding school, Peter persuaded his older brother to join him in a game that leads to David's drowning.
Chapman, who won an Oscar for directing Pixar’s 2012 Brave, does a fine job bringing the movie’s fantasy elements to life. An overturned rowboat becomes a sailing ship when the kids pretend to be pirates. Chapman wants us to see the world through the eyes of the movie's children.
As is the case with many such fantasies, the theme involves assertions about the primacy of imagination, the suggestion being that the transition to adulthood involves a whole lot of pain.
Packed with incident and plot, Come Away touches many bases and makes room for appearances from such veteran actors as Michael Caine, Derek Jacoby, and Clarke Peters, all of whom sound wildly different notes in Chapman’s sweeping tale, which turns out to be a prequel to more familiar stories involving both Peter and Alice.
The screenplay tilts more heavily toward Peter, emphasizing his insistence on remaining a boy, an enchanted state that enables him to avoid the tribulations of adulthood that afflict his parents.
I’ve never understood the appeal of perpetual childhood, but Come Away suggests that an unbridled imagination remains the key to freedom.
Chapman can’t fuse all the movie’s varied ingredients and Dad’s encounter with the man to whom he owes money (an impressive David Gyasi) probably gives the movie one plot thread too many.
Still, at its best, Come Away stands as a nicely realized bit of fantasy filmmaking that, like all the best such movies, isn’t afraid to peer into forbidding corners.