From Benh and Eliza Zeitlin comes Wendy, a modern American adaptation of Peter Pan, but seen through the eyes of Wendy Darling. Instead of London, it’s New Orleans, and Wendy lives with her single mother and older twin brothers. While helping her mother at work serving coffee at, yes, the age of two, she witnesses a boy run away from his family at the diner and jump onto a train. Prior to running, he saw a mysterious figure on the train coax him along. That figure turns out to be Peter Pan. That boy would never be seen from again.
Years later, after an evening of family time and storytelling, the Darling children head to bed. As a train passes by their bedroom window, Wendy (Tommie Lynn Milazzo) spies the same mysterious boy on the train. Adventure awaits, as all three kids jump on that train to a strange and mystical land. I don’t want to get into too many details as their journey takes several of its story moments and inspiration from the original story J.M. Barrie novel. Yes, they meet the “Lost Boys,” including the missing boy from the start of the film. There’s a pirate ship and even an origin story of Captain Hook.
“…spies the same mysterious boy on the train. Adventure awaits, as all three kids jump on that train to a strange and mystical land.”
There’s also a magical mysticism to this “Neverland.” The magic is found in the rules Peter recites to stay eternally young. Once you break the rules, your “numbers” grow, you age and age rapidly. The moment you’re discovered growing older, you’re outcasted with others like you, looking in vain for the way to be young again. The most significant rule to follow is to stay young…in your mind. Then you always have fun and always use your imagination. The moment you bring sadness and reality into your thinking, the magic wears off and wears off quickly like a curse.
I’ll admit, I had a lot of problems with Wendy about ten minutes into the film when the adventure begins, and I wasn’t sure if it was just me. Based on the overwhelming festival reaction, I’m thinking it was just me.