Incoherently directed, thematically muddled, and poorly acted, author/director/producer/star Livia De Paolis’ drama “The Lost Girls” ought to have stayed on the web page. Primarily based on a novel by Laurie Fox, the movie follows 4 generations of Darling ladies in the aftermath of their adventures with Peter Pan.
Inconsistently employed title playing cards set the motion, beginning in London in 1988, the place six-year-old Wendy Margaret Darling Braverman (Amelia Minto) is advised by her kooky grandmother, the unique Wendy Darling (Vanessa Redgrave, in some way), that Peter Pan will come for her when she’s 12 or 13. Though Redgrave does her greatest so as to add awe and marvel to this assertion, it comes out extra like a creepy warning. Reduce to Manhattan 1995, the place 13-year-old Wendy (Emily Carey) is now not homeschooled by her equally creepy father (Julian Ovenden) and is lastly visited by Peter Pan (Louis Partridge), and likewise has a lurid encounter with Captain Hook (Iain Glen).
Wendy grows up, with necessary moments in her life generally proven by means of montage, generally by means of longer scenes, with no title playing cards indicating how outdated she is throughout any of those moments. This creates confusion when De Paolis herself takes over the position. Is she nonetheless a young person when she meets her husband-to-be Adam (Parker Sawyers) after a commencement (they by no means say what she’s graduating from)? Exhausting to say. Time passes on and their horrible relationship performs out till lastly, a 3rd title card seems. It’s 2013, and Wendy and Adam’s daughter Berry (Ella-Rae Smith) is now herself 13 and about to have her personal fateful journey with Pan.
Narrative confusion apart, it’s unclear what De Paolis is saying with this material. Are all of the Darling ladies coping with the consequences of inherited psychological sickness? It’s implied that Wendy’s mom Jane (Joely Richardson) ran off earlier than she was six years outdated and that her grandmother has been out and in psychological establishments. Wendy herself has visions that may very well be schizophrenia delusions. Even Berry has a second that may very well be learned as a break with actuality.
There’s additionally all this bizarre, hamfisted dialogue about getting older. Peter makes all the ladies promise they’ll by no means age. Wendy has a breakdown when her husband tells her she’s too outdated to be behaving the way in which she does. She replies, “Thank you for reminding me I’m getting too old for anything!” When the youthful model of the unique Wendy Darling (Siobhan Hewlett) reveals she is a mom to Peter, she cries as she tells him she’s outdated (the actress taking part in her is 39!). The confession is performed like she’s revealing she has most cancers and is about to die.
However, wait there’s extra. Peter seems to be grooming the ladies to be his surrogate mom; besides Jane, whose extra racy relationship with Peter is advised solely by means of occasional flashes. This grooming is just not actually explored in any respect, however, the movie doesn’t shrink back from the lasciviousness of Captain Hook. He straight up sexually assaults the Darlings, violently forcing them to kiss him. At one level he seductively eats a peach whereas telling Wendy she’s a peach. One other time he leers at her, stating “all girls know me” suggesting it’s Berry’s flip. All of it comes through very anti-sex, anti-sexual coming-of-age. If By no means Neverland represents the liberty of childhood for women, then everything that comes with teenagers and the past is unhealthy, possibly even evil.
And what of By no means Neverland? The movie’s few visits are underwhelming. When younger Wendy first goes there, with assistance from an extremely low-cost CGI flight, she and Peter arrive on a subject full of purple flowers that are immediately cribbed from the primary “Twilight” movie. She runs by means of a forest full of half-useless ferns that we’re meant to really feel are magical, however, it simply appears to be unhappy. It will be giving the director an excessive amount of credit score to say the useless ferns are an approach to exhibiting that childhood isn’t good both.
The youthful actresses taking part in Wendy do an effective job exhibiting her as a curious younger lady and an angsty teen lacking her mom, however, when the movie pivots to De Paolis because of the grown-up Wendy, the one factor holding the movie considerably collectively utterly falls aside. She is stiff and has no chemistry with any of her co-stars, and the sudden look of an Italian accent is jarring. The connection between Wendy and her husband Adam is poorly outlined. As a result, if they haven’t any chemistry collectively as a pair, it is not sensible why he would keep together with her given how impolite she is to him on a regular basis, regardless of them having a baby collectively.
Ella-Rae Smith tries her greatest to raise the hackneyed mother-daughter angst Berry feels in the direction of her mom, however, De Paolis saddles her with the cringiest line (in a movie full of virtually continuous cringe-worthy dialogue) throughout a dinner desk struggle. Leaving in a huff, she shouts “sayonara mama” and I swear at this level my soul left my physique.
Each Vanessa Redgrave as the unique Wendy and Iain Glen as Hook at the least made the smart option to camp it up, whereas everybody else within the forged tries to play it straight with disastrous outcomes. Glen particularly ought to get an award for remembering to maintain the cheap-looking hook the costume designer hooked up to his hand within the body each time he delivers one other lecherous monologue straight to a digital camera. Sadly, a couple of batty performances aren’t sufficient to make De Paolis’ movie value discovery.
“The Lost Girls” is appropriate solely for many who need as many post-public area Peter Pan movies as they’ll get. Everybody else could be higher off revisiting another ideation of this story to get their repair.