Friday, September 30, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the perfect movie for people who love weird and strange things.

There are a few spoilers in this review.

I never read the book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but after seeing the movie last night, I wish that I had taken this phantasmagoric trip into the squirmy delirium of the author's mind. Upon its completion, I couldn't imagine another director that could handle the odds and ends of this peculiar tale better than Tim Burton. In much the same way as fairy tales can lend themselves to shocking moments by throwing an old woman in an oven or meeting a girl with no hands, the movie captures this same kind of viscera by giving us a Lovecraftian villain that has to eat human eyeballs in order to not be monstrous. How undeniably clever.

Asa Butterfield is Jake (who is perhaps at the lankiest that I have ever seen him), and he's a good hero for the story. I liked seeing a male cast in a sympathetic role, as the thing that makes him most peculiar is his ability to see the monsters coming. It's an interesting twist, because unlike Cassandra in the Iliad, Jake's ability to see the evil coming is believed by everyone, and it's through their unique combination of talents that all the peculiar children manage to come together to protect one another.

The one negative criticism that I have for the movie (I think) is entirely me. I found it difficult to keep track of the timeline and the loops through time. It was a fascinating (and ingenious) way to create bubbles of fantasy in our modern reality, and it lent the movie an "Alice in Wonderland" feel. But my mind kept wanting to try and resolve how things worked exactly, and sometimes I got confused with the looping and wondering why sometimes they could emerge in 2016, and at other times they were in 1943.

But perhaps all that we were supposed to take from the story is wonder. After all, how often is it that you see a boy walking with a rope tied to the waist of a girl who's floating like a balloon behind him? Maybe that's the stuff that dreams are made of.


  1. Sounds interesting. I'll probably rent it at some point.

  2. This does look visually compelling, and we'll no doubt see it when it comes to Netflix.

  3. I have a hard time with movies when I can't anchor them in some sort of reality. Or some framework. I'll have to see this and find out if I can follow it.

  4. I did read the book and enjoyed it, but was frustrated at the end when it clearly meant I'd have to read the sequel to see what happens. I do plan to see the movie.

    Interesting factoid: the author of the book originally wrote a picture book based on the weird vintage photos he had collected, but his editor advised him to write more of a narrative around those photos, hence the novel. It became a bestseller (and an unusual one, if you've ever looked through it), and good for him!

    BTW, I know I left a comment this last Monday on your post, Mike. But it was late and I probably clicked on the wrong button and it never posted. My bad. But I'm sure my comment was brilliant.

  5. I loved this book. The writing is a bit disjointed, sometimes hard to keep reading; but the story is well worth it. I need to pick up the second book sometime.