Reviewed by: Angela Bowman
“Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Signs,” “Definitely, Maybe”
Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler, Morgan Griffin, Alphonso McAuley, Jay Laga'aia, Christopher Baker, Peter Callan, Sean Keenan, Rhonda Doyle, Michael Carman, Maddison Joyce
|Director:||Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett|
|Producer:||Alan Edward Bell, Stephen Jones, Paula Mazur|
“Be the hero of your own story.”
This film is based on the book by Wendy Orr and Kerry Millard.
“Nim's Island” is almost a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson, with a deserted island, animals, “pirates,” and a modern tree house, complete with electricity running from solar panels and satellite communication.
Nim (Abigail Breslin) lives on this unknown island in the Asiatic Sea with her scientist father, Jack Rusoe (Gerard Butler). While her father is away on an expedition, Nim finds that Alex Rover, the author of her favorite action-adventure stories, has written to her father for consultation on subject matter for her next book. Nim decides to help her beloved author, placing herself in danger, and at the same time her father goes missing, leaving her alone, afraid and injured.
Nim turns to her hero for help, and feeling responsible, the author agrees to come to her assistance. However, unknown to Nim, this author is not Alex Rover (also played by Gerard Butler), the hero of her stories. Alex Rover is in fact Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), author and phobic recluse, completely opposite of the hero of her stories, afraid to venture out her own front door.
As we follow Alexandra on her journey into the world, challenged with real life adventure in the midst of her terror and driven and determined by her concern for Nim, Nim stumbles upon invaders who threaten her family's secluded life and must find a way to preserve and protect her home, and her father is lost at sea, desperately trying to find his way back to his daughter.
“Courage is not just in you, it is in every choice that you make each day.” The central theme of the movie is courage. Each of the main characters has obstacles to overcome and eventually have to find the courage to stand out on his or her own to overcome the situations faced.
This brings a great opportunity to point out that this message can be found throughout the Bible. Just one example is Deuteronomy chapter 31. Multiple times His message is to “be strong and courageous.”
1 Corinthians 16:13 tells us to…
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
While neither God or any kind of Christian belief was actually referenced (other than one man saying a particular place was God-forsaken), there was one scene in which it appeared that a very paranoid and frightened Alexandra was praying, however that could be argued as it was not completely clear as to whom she was talking (or praying) to.
For those who struggle with fear, whether as severe as Alexandra's or not, we have reassurance in 2 Timothy chapter 1 that God did not give us a spirit of timidity (or fear), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Unfortunately, there was some objectionable content, although by today's standards, it was mostly minor. The most offensive were a reference to “Mother Nature” made by Jack Rusoe and the hero Alex Rover says “d***ed apartment.”
A few other possible negatives were: Nim refers to her father as “Jack” most of the time. A beach scene with lots of people, mostly modestly clothed, however there were a few Hawaiian-type hula dancers and people in bathing suits, as well as a mother who got a bit of screen time and had a low cut top, although she was not the model type who would normally be looked upon sexually. The sea lion passes gas while swimming under water, resulting in smelly bubbles. There was some blood from small cuts/scrapes, but nothing graphic, a pig roast on the beach, and Alexandra takes motion sickness pills that make her drowsy (does not seem to be in a drug-abusive way). Very young children could possibly be afraid of the sharks and dead fish that were eaten by the sea lion (however, once again, not graphic), and Nim at one point believes her father has died, which may be distressing to a very young and sensitive child.
I found this film to be quite entertaining and enjoyable. It was also so refreshing to see a child using her imagination, playing on the beach with animals and reading, rather than watching television and playing video games (or on a cell phone/computer), even though she had these means available to her and did use them when necessary.
I especially enjoyed how the hero character from Alexandra's book was weaved into the story and the idea that both Alexandra and Nim's interpretation of the hero Alex were the same, and that Nim's version of the hero would be (a Scottish version of) her father. The end pulls together nicely as Alexandra sees Nim's father for the first time, and while the movie doesn't directly say, Jodie Foster has the amazing ability to portray Alexandra's feelings without words as she sees her character hero come to life in a sense.
Overall, it was a fun family movie, with beautiful scenery, action and a lot of laughs. Compared to other secular movies out there, it was very clean and opens many opportunities for family discussions and learning experiences.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.