Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

(France, Canada, 2013)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is one of my favorite directors, responsible for Amélie, City of Lost Children, and Micmacs, all gloriously weird and fantastical films. Since 1984 he has made only seven films. I’d sure like to see more, but if it takes him five years to turn out the stuff he does, I’m willing to wait. This is based on a best-selling novel that must have flown under my radar, as I had never heard of it. T.S. is a ten-year-old genius living on an isolated ranch on the Continental Divide in Montana. (It was shot in Alberta.) The Smithsonian awards him a distinguished prize because of his revolutionary perpetual motion machine. (It’s not really perpetual; T.S. reckons it will wind down “in about 400 years!”) He sets out for D.C. by stowing away on a freight train. The story is whimsical, but there is sadness underlying it all. The kid who plays T.S. is pretty amazing, and supporting cast includes Helena Bonham Carter and Judy Davis. Probably not for everyone, but we really liked it.