In an attempt to bring back that wide eyed innocence of kids' films of long ago directors Jennifer Flackett (first film) and Mark Levin (Little Manhattan) have created a film in which love always conquers everything. Now, some of the more cynical of you out there might scoff at the fact that this is a movie where monsoons don't kill anyone and everything works out in the end, but I say, I think that kids get enough realism out in the world maybe its time that Hollywood brought back a more pleasant world for them to escape into.
Nim (Abigail Breslin – Little Miss Sunshine, No Reservation) is an 11-year-old girl who lives with her biologist father (Gerald Butler – 300, PS, I Love You) on a deserted island in the South Pacific. Though she is alone with her father there her time is taken up with her exploring of the island, playing with Galileo (a pelican), Fred (a lizard) and Silky (a seal), and reading Alex Rover (also Gerald Butler) adventure novels.
Her father leaves to go on a search for rare single cell organisms and Nim insists on staying behind as her seas turtle is about to give birth and she wants to protect the babies from predators. While dad is out on the open waters a storm suddenly hits his ship knocking out the satellite phone and stranding the ship.
While she is growing more and more worried by the fact that she cannot get her father on the phone, Nim has developed an e-mail relationship with her beloved Alex Rover. Actually who she is writing to is Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster – Taxi Driver, Freaky Friday), the writer of the adventure novels. Alexandra is as far away from Alex as one could imagine as she is an agoraphobe who cannot even gather up the courage to leave her apartment. Based on the e-mail exchange, Alexandra realizes that Nim is all alone, so she gathers up the courage to voyage out to save this child on her island in the South Pacific.
I never thought I would write these words, but the weakest part of Nim's Island is Jodie Foster. Bravo to her for taking a part that is worlds away from her normal onscreen characters, but after seeing her in this role I think she should stick to what she's done in the past as it suits her better. She is hopelessly miscast as the agoraphobic, germaphobic adventure novel writer who takes off to save an 11-year-old girl alone on an island even though she has not even been out of her own apartment for 4 months. She looks awkward and painfully overacts in parts. Comedy might be her kryptonite. Action star Gerald Butler is also a little out of his element in this film, but he has little screen time so it does not stand out as much.
Despite the wiser-than-her-age Abigail Breslin's best attempts the true star of the film is the CGI created lizard named Fred. He is a real hoot and is the only one who seems comfortable with comedy as he is natural and his timing is right on. Actually all the animal actors are great!
Though the film is really predictable it is good clean family fun. Parents will not have to worry about their kids seeing inappropriate stuff or having the pants scared off of them. For the older 'kids' in the audience the film might bring you back to a better time in film history for kids' films.