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As a person who has hits and misses with family films, I'm more of an avid fantasy fan. I was not particularly happy about being roped into watching Nim's Island, based on the novel by Wendy Orr.
What I found, though, was that this movie was highly entertaining, and need I say cute.
The story centers on widower, scientist Jack (Gerard Butler), who along with his daughter (Abigail Breslin) lives in seclusion on a breathtakingly beautiful island enjoying nothing but the sound of the ocean and having the local animals for companionship.
All is well until Jack leaves for sea, leaving Nim in charge with her second in command sea lion, Selkie. As her father becomes lost at sea, however, and her island starts to be taken over by tourists, little Nim sends emails to the author of her favorite adventure books (Jodie Foster) in search of a hero.
Kids will delight in Breslin who plays Nim, who's not only able to take care of herself alone on the island, but has the brains to defend her island by scaring off would-be tourists by faking a volcano eruption.
And honestly, what family movie isn't complete without the help of a few well-placed animals who cause mischief and save the day? In this case, there's a lizard that falls on a boy's head and a pelican who saves the day by helping Jack find his way home.
Foster is a main delight in the film, playing an obsessive-compulsive, agoraphobic author who humorously has to overcome herself to come to Nim's aid. Most of the time, such a character would come off as silly, but Foster's character is makeshift hero who, if nothing else, is determined not to leave a little girl in need.
Butler is also entertaining as the handsome and adventurous hero of the book series so loved by Nim who encourages the author to get out of her apartment and out into the world. It's amusing to see Foster and Butler argue it out all the way from post-departure to the island itself.
If there's anything bad, it's that the film is hurt by its 96 minute running time that causes the plot to be a bit rushed, the shortness just might be perfect, though, for the youngest audience members.
For parents looking for a film that they can enjoy with their children, Nim's Island is definitely worth a look.