The opening scene of The Storyteller promises us a fairytale-like story with whimsical visuals and great music as a little girl walks out of a forest guided by “magical” fairy-like firefly lights. However, this only acts as prelude for the film true beginning, when the little girl from the wood, unwashed, in ripped clothes and carrying a backpack, where she keeps a jar of “fairies” and “the oldest” copy of Peter and Wendy.
She soon arrives in the nursing home room of a sick elderly woman, Rosemary (Constance Towers). The two seem to know each other as, the girl (Brooklyn Rae Silzerwer) is presumably Abby, some reincarnation of Rosemary’s sister who died as a child. A nurse arrives and is amusingly alarmed by the situation—and the pair’s state of delusion — yet she decides to call Social Services and Rosemary’s granddaughter, Maggie (Samantha Colburn).
“…the girl is presumably Abby, some reincarnation of Rosemary’s sister who died as a child…”
Knowing nothing about this peculiar child, social services thought it would be best if Maggie, who is conveniently allowed to welcome lost children in her home as a foster parent, take care of Abby while they look into her case and solve her mystery.
After this, The Storyteller follows a typical Hallmark recipe of films where “everything happens for a reason,” filled with good-hearted people with good intentions looking for love and the kindness of strangers in all things, as Abby will “fix” everybody’s problems with her sweetness, music and possibly “magic.”
From Maggie’s family dramas dealing with Rosemary’s old-age related illness and dementia to communication issues with her adopted angsty teenage daughter Jen (Cassidy Mack), and, to her love affair with fellow school colleague/music teacher John (James Snyder); it all comes to a happy conclusion thanks to Abby.
“The kids can act, particularly Brooklyn Rae Silzer, convincingly playing Abby…”
It is the kind of movie where everybody gets together at the end to sing or dance in celebration of love, life, and family; so going in knowing nothing about The Storyteller, one will either be moved by its devotion to providing warmth and tears of joy, or not.
But not all is lost for those who are not touched by its sentimentalism, as the kids can act, particularly Brooklyn Rae Silzer, convincingly playing Abby. She is the highlight of the film that, nevertheless, will conclude in a pragmatic and almost satisfying manner for all viewers.
All loose ends will be tied up nicely, and Abby’s mystery will be solved without surprises, as the audience will learn what they had probably already figured out on their own.
So, there is no easy way to tell who will enjoy and appreciate the heartwarming film message or who will find its attempts at tackling serious issues in a cheesy manner, flawed and eye-rolling. One sure thing is that The Storyteller is a movie that conveniently believes only those who want to see magic in the world can see it.
The Storyteller (2018) Directed by Joe Crump. Written by Joe Crump, Rachel Noll James. Starring Constance Towers, Brooklyn Rae Silzer, James Snyder, Samantha Colburn, Cassidy Mack.