Colourful, beautiful landscapes, at times a bit too slow but mostly an enjoyable feast, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest really centres on the idea of a family overcome by a trauma that is never spoken of. The story is that of Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet, a little genius who invents the perpetual motion machine and is thus invited to the Smithsonian Institute to receive the prestigious Baird Award.
At times the film seems to dwell a bit too long on moments of sadness but it comes out of those well with Spivet’s (Kyle Catlett) precociousness. The miniature boy Spivet, born into a family of a cowboy and an entomologist, is the film’s carrying force (to me, at least) by keeping the whole thing rolling – a talent to keep an eye on. For me, this isn’t Jeunet’s best attempt but it works. There’s something really calming about the idyll of the prairie surrounded by mountains.