MOVIE REVIEW: Molly Moon and the incredible book of hypnotism
MOLLY MOON AND THE INCREDIBLE BOOK OF HYPNOTISM
CAST: Raffey Cassidy, Emily Watson, Dominic Monaghan, Joan Collins, Leslie Manville, Sadie Frost, Celia Imrie, Jadon Carnellie Morris
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)
Cute and terribly sweet, this family film skews quite young. It is aimed at the tweens who are familiar with the idea of famous children, but don’t really know much about how other children live their lives.
Parents will be slightly tickled by the cast of adults who include a flashback in the form of a deliciously bitchy Joan Collins and some hefty acting chops from an always solid Emily Watson, surprisingly funny Celia Imrie and Dominic Monaghan as a would-be bank robber.
Unprepossessing pre-teen Molly Moon (Cassidy) lives in a tiny orphanage in the English countryside, constantly harassed by the orphanage director, Miss Adderstone (Manville).
Best friends with another orphan, Rocky Scarlett (Morris), she has the best of intentions, but other people’s plans are constantly getting in her way. When Molly discovers a book on hypnotism she picks up some useful skills, but then Rocky is adopted and her life really takes a turn for the dismal.
Based on Georgia Byng’s popular book series, this film doesn’t take Molly to New York as the book does, but deposits her in London in search of Rocky.
Determined to make things right with her friend, Molly makes her way to the big city and finds him, but then gets sidetracked by the idea of becoming famous. She hypnotises her way onto a popular televised stage show and persuades herself she is living the life. The orphanage story arc has a timeless feel to it, while the big city story is all bright lights and wide-eyed wonder at the shiny things.
All this time a would-be robber has been looking for Molly’s book and eventually Nockman (Monaghan) comes after her because he needs the hypnotism skills for his next big score, which is where the film turns heist story.
Suffice it to say, this being a family film aimed at little people, lots more happens, but it all eventually works out and Molly learns the importance of family.
While it doesn’t have the bright pallette of Nanny McPhee, Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism does have that same fantastical feel to it because of Molly’s quickly- learnt hypnotism skills and the story’s allegoric message around family and doing the right thing.
In this world big people are the enemy – adopted parents are cruel, the orphanage is a nasty place of gross food, headed by a cruel tyrant of a director – so some old stereotypes are regrettably exploited to tell a modern Annie meets Oliver Twist story.
Molly is a plucky little heroine they can identify with, this film will appeal most to the female pre-teen market, though the message that she conquers the world through hypnotism is perhaps no more a good message to spread than presenting little girls with a Barbie doll as a positive role model.
If you liked the remake of Annie or Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, you will like this.