The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivot

Rated: PG

        There are very few directors in this world whose style comes through the camera onto the screen. The few out there that can pull of such a feat have styles as recognizable as the actors in their films. Quentin Tarrentino is one example. Wes Anderson is another, so is Oliver Stone. These three men have directorial styles so unique that they’re practically trademarked. If you were to sit down and watch films from each of these directors, without knowing whom had made what, it would be easy to figure out which films were made by which directors.
        Another fine example of this type of unique style is director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. His films
Amelie, The City of Lost Children and Micmacs all contain elements of beauty and whimsy that, while reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s style, are exclusively his own. And Jeunet’s latest film, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivot is no exception.
The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivot is based on the book The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larson, and like the book, the film focuses on T.S. Spivot, a ten year old boy from Montana. After receiving news that he’s won a major award, T.S. runs away from home and travels from his family’s ranch to Washington D.C. Both the film and the book tackle the utter desperation of the Spivot family, as each member attempts to move on after the loss of a family member in their own ways.
        In most cases, a filmmaker will approach an author and ask if their book can be made into film. In the case of T.S. Spivot things went a little differently. According to Wikipedia, “After writing and directing Micmacs, Jeunet preferred his next film to be in someone else's world, to be based on an existing story. Before Reif Larsen's book was published, he had already shortlisted several of his favorite directors to make a film based on the book, and was subsequently contacted by Jeunet.” It seems that the two were destined to work together on this project, and it’s a good thing they did, because the results are phenomenal!
        The main character of the film, T.S. Spivot, was played by a young actor named Kyle Catlett. Although he is young and has only 9 acting credits to his name, he played the role with such range and perfection that you’d swear he was an old pro. He brought a certain humbleness, depth and realism to a character whose quirkiness could’ve easily overwhelmed someone with less skill.
        What Jean-Pierre Jeunet has done with
T.S. Spivot is nothing short of miraculous. He created a visually stunning masterpiece with such an attention to detail that you’ll have to watch it at least twice to catch it all. This is a heartbreaking and marvelous emotional roller coaster of a tale told in expert fashion. It is the kind of film that, when finished, will leave you with a smile on your face and a sigh, in relief that you’ve just witnessed something so magical and wonderful.

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivot is rated PG, was written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and stars Kyle Catlett, Helena Bonham Carter, Callum Keith Rennie, Judy Davis and Niamh Wilson. It is available now on DVD, Blu Ray and streaming.