Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s adaptation of Reif Larson’s novel is a disarming film. T.S. Spivet is a wonderful adventure.
Young T.S. Spivet lives with his beetle-obsessed mother, cowboy father and teenage sister on a ranch in Montana. T.S. is invited to the Smithsonian on account of winning a prize for his invention. He deliberates making the trip without the knowledge of his family…
T.S. Spivet works marvellously well as an adventure; with moments of drama and humour that are finely executed. The film is successful thanks to its rich story, and storytelling. It is meaty enough for audiences to enjoy the adventure, while the quirkiness makes T.S. Spivet stand out.
The film effectively balances comedy with a genuinely emotional strand. T.S. Spivet can successfully flip from humour to drama whilst retaining a feeling of sincerity. The emotional strand gives the protagonist more depth. T.S. is more than simply a child genius; he has layers which make him more human, and thus more relatable.
T.S. Spivet has a level of quirkiness that those familiar with the work of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet will not be surprised at. The narration of T.S. works well in order to give the audience a really personal perspective of the events and relationships. Characters are wonderfully drawn, with even the smaller roles being memorable.
On paper, T.S. Spivet does not seem like a typical film that would be screened in 3D. Nonetheless, the film works well in this format, particularly with the more whimsical scenes. The cinematography and art direction work well to give the film a distinctive look.
Helena Bonham Carter is great as Dr Clair. Judy Davis clearly has a lot of fun with her outlandish character. It is Kyle Catlett who steals the show, however. The young actor delivers a superb performance as young T.S..
Direction, cinematography and a great screenplay combine to ensure that T.S. Spivet is an impressive and enjoyable film.