Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Nim’s Island


Somebody at IMDb said this was like Indiana Jones for little girls. Maybe, but I think the better parallel is Romancing the Stone, that wonderful, unlikely match of adventure and humor that was such a big hit in the ‘80s. Both stories involve a female novelist who writes adventures and ends up having an adventure herself. In this one, though, the novelist is Alexandra Roper (Jodie Foster), who under her pen name Alex is widely believed to be a male. She has one small problem, a slight case of agoraphobia (“What’s slight about it?” her alter ego, Alex, asks her). She hasn’t left her apartment in a long time. But she gets involved by email with Nim, who lives with her father on a remote, secret island. Her father has been caught in a storm and is having a great deal of trouble getting back home. Nim, who is 11, is all alone. Alex decides she has to go to the South Pacific and help out, accompanied by her imaginary hero friend. Nim is actually far better suited to take care of herself. She is plucky and smart, and she has animal friends—a sea lion, a lizard, and a pelican—who she talks to (they don’t talk back, thank god; that would have been a little too much), and who display far more than the usual animal intelligence. It’s an odd blend of reality and fantasy, a hard balancing act to maintain, but they do a good job of it. We both enjoyed it. Jodie Foster is quite good in a comic part, something she doesn’t usually do. And Abigail Breslin, of the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine, shines again.