The Power of Home, Family and Storytelling
Release Date: January 23, 2009
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 106 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Iain Softley
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Address Comments To:Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Alan Horn, President/COO
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (New Line Cinema)
(A Time Warner company)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
The movie opens with a father reading “Little Red Riding Hood” to his two-year-old while the mother watches and a narrator explains that there are some people in the world, called Silvertongues, who can bring a story to life when they read it aloud. Sure enough, Little Red Riding Hood’s cape floats down from the sky as the father reads.
Cut to 10 years later. The father, Mortimer or Mo, and his daughter, Meggie, are exploring a bookstore in Europe. Mo is frantically searching for a copy of “Inkheart,” a book that had something to do with the mother’s disappearance years ago. Outside the bookstore, Mo is confronted by a desperate man named Dustfinger, who wants something from Mo related to the book.
It turns out that, when Meggie was three, Mo was reading the “Inkheart” book to her when three characters from the book popped into the real world and his wife, Resa, disappeared into the fantasy world of the book. Dustfinger was one of the characters who popped out. He wants to make Mo read him back into the book. Mo refuses, afraid that he might lose another loved one.
Also released from the book were the evil Capricorn and his knife-wielding henchman Basta. They too have been searching for Mo, to make him read the monstrous and powerful Shadow from the book into the real world, so that Capricorn can rule the world. The Shadow consists of the ashes of all the fictional victims that Capricorn has murdered.
That sets up the plot for a series of exciting, but dangerous, adventures, with lots of near escapes and plenty of humor.
INKHEART seems a little confusing at first, because not everything is explained immediately. Once it gets underway, however, the story and characters pick up. The third act is very exciting. The cast does an excellent job bringing these smart characters to life.
The movie extols home and family. Mo wants to bring his wife back somehow, and Dustfinger wants to be reunited with his wife and kids. Meggie also wants to be reunited with her mother. Helping them to do that is Mo’s Aunt Elinor, a feisty book lover played by Helen Mirren.
INKHEART is also very smart regarding its view of storytelling. Although there is no explanation for the powers of the Silvertongues, the movie (and the book on which it’s based) postulates that stories can affect what happens in the real world. In one sense, this is what MOVIEGUIDE® has been saying all these years – that stories can affect the hearts, minds and behavior of people, especially vulnerable children and teenagers. On the other hand, like BEDTIME STORY and many other fantasy movies, there is a hint of the nominalistic occult belief that ideas can be spoken into existence. The media-wise point to be made to your children is that neither you or them or anyone else can speak things into existence, but you can pray for God to intercede.
Hopefully, INKHEART will not only attract an audience, but will inspire viewers to re-discover the joys of books and storytelling and, someday, lead people to the Greatest Story Ever Told, the story of mankind’s redemption through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as told in the inspirational pages of the New Testament.
Once INKHEART gets underway, it is an exciting adventure story, with lots of near escapes and humor. Some of the monsters, villains and thunderstorms are a bit too scary for younger children. Despite this, the movie (and presumably the book on which it is based) extols the importance of home and family. It also alerts viewers to the very real impact that books and storytelling can have on people, including vulnerable children and teenagers.