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MOVIE REVIEW

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children also known as “El Hogar de Miss Peregrine para Niños Peculiares,” “Miss Peregrine y los niños peculiares,” “A Casa da Senhora Peregrine para Crianças Peculiares,” “Die Insel der besonderen Kinder,” “Dom gospodicne Peregrine za nenavadne otroke,” “Dom gospodjice Peregrine za cudnovatu djecu,” “Dom gospođice Peregrin za čudnovatu decu,” “El hogar de Miss Peregrine para niños peculiares,” “Miss Peregrine - La casa dei ragazzi speciali,” “Miss Peregrine et les enfants particuliers,” “Miss Peregrines hem för besynnerliga barn,” “Neiti Peregrinen koti eriskummallisille lapsille,” “O Lar das Crianças Peculiares,” “Osobliwy dom pani Peregrine,” “Paneles Peregrines ypatingu vaiku namai”

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril.

Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults (not for young ones)
Genre:
Fantasy Adventure Adaptation
Length:
2 hr. 7 min.
Year of Release:
2016
USA Release:
September 30, 2016 (wide—3,522 theaters)
DVD: December 13, 2016
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

How should Christians regard dark and macarbe stories, in light of Christ’s teachings?


protecting vulnerable children

dealing with odd differences in people

importance of family

good versus evil

selflessness / sacrificial love

learning to have courage / bravery

perseverance

struggling to find a medium between healthy interaction with “the world,” so your virtue and faith remain intact in secular environments, and standing apart in setting an example of godliness

goodness and righteousness

goodness of God

Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring: Eva Green … Miss Alma LeFay Perigrine
Asa Butterfield … Jacob Portman
Samuel L. JacksonBarron
Kim Dickens …
Allison Janney … Dr. Golan
Judi DenchMiss Avocet
Chris O'Dowd … Franklin Portman
Rupert Everett …
Ella Purnell … Emma Bloom
Terence Stamp … Abraham Portman
Milo Parker … Hugh Apiston
See all »
Director: Tim Burton—“Edward Scissorhands” (1990), “Corpse Bride” (2005), “Batman Returns” (1992)
Producer: Bulletproof Cupid
Chernin Entertainment
See all »
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Time. We watch it slip away, complain there’s never enough of it. We blink… and a moment, a day, a decade, is gone. And we can never get it back.

Young Jake (Asa Butterfield) never ponders the nuances of lost time. He has no interest in such things. He works a dull but ordinary job at a supermarket, and visits his beloved grandfather (Terence Stamp), who suffers from dementia. Jake fails to realize time is precious… until he finds Grandfather, after a frightened phone call for help, in a patch of misty moonlight, devoid of his eyes. “The bird will explain everything,” Grandpa says… and dies.

Then, Jake sees something in the woods… something that cannot be there, a creature that does not exist outside his grandfather’s old stories… right?

Grandpa used to tell Jake tales about the shape-shifting Miss Peregrine and her household of “Peculiars,” children with abnormalities. Desperate for answers, Jake travels to the small island where his grandfather grew up after fleeing Poland during WWII. There, hopeful of meeting Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), he discovers a burned out orphanage… and much more, including the most precious gift of all: the chance to get back lost time.

I devoured the novel by Ransom Riggs in one sitting on a snowy afternoon during a power outage, the only light in the house the glow of my Kindle screen. When I heard Tim Burton was directing the film, I thought, “Perfect, only Burton could create such a fantastical, surreal, macabre world.” A true visionary director with incredible talent for artistic design, Burton takes us on an eventful adventure on one of his favorite topics: peculiars. Most of his movies have a unique, misunderstood, or persecuted individual at the center; here, Peculiars have unusual gifts, ranging from floating in midair, to turning people to stone at a glance, to producing fire from fingertips, even the power to control time loops and turn into a falcon.

From an artistic standpoint, it’s a masterpiece of eeriness intermixed with beauty, from the sheen of blue feathers to the charmed, sunlit world where Miss Peregrine’s children dwell. She is their protector and guardian, a stern but affectionate presence in their lives, until circumstances force them to find the courage to save her from a diabolical villain (Samuel L. Jackson). The story is strongest at the start, as Burton world-builds, and sweet in its conclusion, though it loses a bit of its magic in the middle. Colleen Atwood’s costumes are ingenious, and the music sets a tone of sinister wonder.

Burton indulges his taste for dark humor and enjoyment of the grotesque in a Peculiar who can animate and control dead or inanimate objects (including one creepy moment where he puts a heart inside a dead boy and has it speak to Jake). Small children might have nightmares after seeing frightening scenes involving monsters, reanimated skeletons, violent battles between Peculiars and Hollows, hollow eyed corpses, a man’s eyes sucked from his head, and the mass consumption of eyeballs (seen in grisly piles, or slurped up by white-eyed evil Peculiars). There is one utterance of God’s name coupled with a profanity. A girl’s wet garments cling to her after a swim. Though there is no “magic,” the story never addresses the origins of the Peculiar’s peculiarities.

The story left me thinking about time, how precious it is, and how we must use it to appreciate our loved ones. It does not shy away from discussing how Grandfather’s secret job was valuable, in protecting innocent lives (“He took lives to save them”), but caused him to lose his own children’s love (“He wasn’t around much, we thought he might be cheating on Grandma…”), who failed to maintain a relationship with him because he was never home. His son has the same problem with Jake (“You need to talk about these things with someone… call your therapist”). Burton does not preach, he nudges and makes you think.

The film speaks to the pain of separation from the outside world. This differs in each individual, since no one is an outcast for the same reason, but, as a believer, I sometimes fall into a feeling of disconnectedness… “in the world, but not of it.” In that context, Miss Peregrine’s protection of the children takes on a new light. She keeps them safe by withholding from them natural human experiences, such as growing older, one day at a time. Her over-protectiveness hinders them from healthy interaction with the world beyond their time loop. Many Christians face a similar challenge. It can be a struggle to find a medium between healthy interaction with “the world,” so your virtue and faith remain intact in secular environments, and standing apart in setting an example of godliness.

To me, the children symbolize humanity and its deeper individual gifts, passions, skills, and faults. Though they can be petty, they also show virtues like selflessness, courage, and perseverance. Before the end, they reflect sacrificial love in their willingness to die for one another. In doing so, they find part of the true meaning of life. Thankfully, our God loved us enough to self-sacrifice on our behalf… and doesn’t mind if we’re a little bit… Peculiar.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild to moderate—“G*d d*mn” (1), OMG (2), “h*ll” (2), “d*mn” (1), “b*ggers” (1), “b*llocks” (2), “cr*p” / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I saw this picture with my wife and 11 year old son. While some of the action and characters could be considered frightening, my son stated that he was not scared. The movie teaches about the importance of family, good verses evil, and one’s willingness to sacrifice in order to keep others safe. It also addresses feelings of sadness and regret. I would cautiously recommend the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Ken, age 51 (USA)
Positive—I was very curious about this film, and I figured that if I was going to see it, I should probably see it in 3D. So I caught it at a dollar theater. And if money were no object, I’d do it again. Seriously, this has got to be one of the best films of the year, and also one of the best films Tim Burton has ever made. In a Tim Burton film scored by Danny Elfman, it’s a given that everything about it will be gorgeous (the nightmare that is “Alice in Wonderland” excepted). And yet this film still blew me away. I walked away feeling very inspired and uplifted.

Yes, there are dark moments, but I felt that the film provided exceptional redemption for those. The film tugged at my heartstrings, and I found myself cheering every minute until the end!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Gabriel Mohler, age 27 (USA)
Positive—I have not heard anything about this book series, before the movie came out, but I will say that I had a blast watching. It was just so magical, and I loved the children and adults alike. I loved the most beautiful girl in the world, and other characters were terrific, too. I say, yes, it may have slight witchcraft, but I highly recommend that you see it. I loved it. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
Chris, age 27 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—My wife, our 10 year old and 13 year old girls along with myself went to this movie last weekend. While it was well done, it was a very forgetful movie. In fact, this is the first movie that afterward we really had no meaningful discussion about. It was well done, and the story line was OK, but not much more I could say positively. I look for this to fizzle out soon, because I would anticipate very few people seeing this more than once or encourage anyone else to go to it. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Tom, age 56 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I watched with my 8 year old all that I could endure, which was about an hour in. It was horrible for both of us. One of the reasons that I love the Bible is that God doesn’t pull his punches—he tells it as it is, the ugly and hard with the beautiful and noble and with it establishes his credibility. God tells the atrocities of man; he calls sin by its true name “death”. He also shows his huge and horrific sacrifice to set me free from the darkness. The best reason to love God is that he is the one being in the universe that you can trust even much more than you trust yourself. He is someone you can run to.

This is a dark movie. It is like “Call of Cthulhu”* and “Evil Dead” meets “X-Men” and a sequence of “Unfortunate Events…,” and it is tragic that it is sold to children.

As an adult who does not watch horror movies, this is going to give me nightmares. It is pitiless and cruel. The monsters there hunt the “peculiars,” the children who are the main characters, hoping to literally eat them.

There are adults who are powerful, manipulative, and abusive to children. There are no safe adults, especially the ones who are put over to “protect” them. One of the things that I like least is the “incompetent adult” theme in movies that teaches them that there is no authority that could be trusted, and no authority who will tell the whole truth. See all »
Mike M, age 42 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—The movie is great, but some of the scenes were disturbing. I am 12 years old, and I found some scenes quite scary; I would not recommend this for young children, but I would say 12 and up is fine. Movie-making quality is great. I love the personalites of the kids, and their relationships with Miss Peregrine. I love this movie!!!… Except the weird parts, lol.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Sydney, age 12 (Canada)

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