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The Last Mimzy
cast: Timothy Hutton, Joely Richardson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, and Chris O'Neil

director: Robert Shaye

94 minutes (PG) 2006
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
EIV DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
Easily the oddest movie you'll see this year, The Last Mimzy (based on short story by Lewis Padgett) is best described as a cross between The Terminator and Alice In Wonderland. Noah (Chris O'Neil) is a decent kid in the shadow of his prodigy sister Emma (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn). To make matters worse, their dad (Timothy Hutton) has to work all the time and their mother (Joely Richardson) is getting tired of picking up the slack. Until they go on holiday and the children discover something odd, floating in the sea. Emma opens it and inside, despite its futuristic exterior, she finds a small white rabbit toy. A toy called Mimzy. A toy that's talking to her...

What follows is reminiscent of the best 1980s' childrens' drama serials as Noah and Emma begin to exhibit astonishing abilities around the items in Mimzy's container, and first their parents, then a teacher (Rainn Wilson), and finally the world take notice. There's a real sense of the alien, of the unknown here and the two leads carry the film perfectly. Wryn in particular is an effortlessly sincere, honest lead without once coming across as schmaltzy.

The adults, it must be said, fare slightly less well. Hutton does a good job of an everyman in a bad situation but Richardson comes across as shrill and unreasonable whilst Wilson, and Kathryn Hahn, as his girlfriend are there to do little more than explain the plot. That being said, Michael Clarke Duncan (who appears to have lost half his bodyweight) is great, as an unusually avuncular Homeland Security Operative, while Wilson and Hahn's scenes have a sweetness to them that nicely complements the kids'.

But it's the kids that this film is ultimately all about and they both do great work. There are some lovely moments of genuine, unforced emotion from Wryn especially and Mimzy is an amazingly cute, and surprisingly central, character. Throw in a fascinating time travel framing sequence and some genuine surprises and this is that rarest of treats; a kid's movie that doesn't talk down to it's audience. Hugely recommended.
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