A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Come Away is a drama/adventure based on the premise that Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan were siblings. It has fantasy violence and strong themes of loss and grief. Much of the action is played out through Alice (Keira Chansa) and Peter (Jordan A. Nash)'s imagination. They have sword fights with pirates, sometimes resulting in characters being stabbed to death -- but there's no gore or bloodshed. One character's hand gets cut off, landing in a crocodile's mouth; it quickly grows back as a hook. A child drowns in front of a sibling, and a photo of the dead child (lying in a coffin) is later seen. The child's mother, Rose (Angelina Jolie), turns to alcohol in her grief, while the father, Jack (David Oyelowo), starts gambling and falls into debt. That leads to his hand being branded: It takes place off screen, but the injury is seen. In one scene, Rose slaps Alice hard across the face. The Littleton family is multiracial, and there's positive representation throughout the cast. Viewers may enjoy trying to spot the movie's multiple references to Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Despite these moments, the movie's fantastical elements, and its positive messages around the value of curiosity and imagination, the theme of family loss is prevalent enough to make it too intense for litle kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
COME AWAY tells the story of how siblings Alice (Keira Chansa) and Peter (Jordan A. Nash) found their way into Wonderland and Neverland respectively. Following a tragic accident, Alice and Peter must try to console their parents, Rose (Angelina Jolie) and Jack (David Oyelowo), while their imaginations blur the lines between what's real and what's not.
Is it any good?
Come Away promises much but delivers little. A movie that brings together Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan sounds like the makings of a wonderful fantasy tale. Sadly director Brenda Chapman's first live-action venture -- following The Prince of Egypt and Brave -- lacks any of the magic of her two previous animated adventures. For a movie about childhood imagination, little is left for the audience to unpack. The subtext is laid on far too thick, with any peril telegraphed with lazy cliches. The references to Lewis Carroll's and J.M. Barrie's original material are also often crowbarred in, with no real benefit to the story.
Ultimately the movie suffers from not knowing who its audience is. By focusing so much on grief, it's a film that is too heavy for the very audience that may have got the most from the more whimsical elements of the story. The blend of fantasy and real life also makes it difficult to empathize with any of the characters' predicaments. With the likes of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Caine, Derek Jacobi all cropping up to support Jolie and Oyelowo, Come Away, sadly, feels like an opportunity missed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Come Away portrays grief. Discuss the different ways each member of the Littleton family deals with their family tragedy. Who did you relate to most? Why?
Why is it important for us not to lose our imagination?
How does having a diverse cast impact the story? Why is representation in media important?
How many references to Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan did you spot?
- In theaters: November 13, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: November 13, 2020
- Cast: Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
- Director: Brenda Chapman
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Pirates
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: strong thematic content, some violence, fantasy action, and unsettling images
- Last updated: November 20, 2020
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