“#staypeculiar” is the hashtag that is hitting Facebook in support of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. In encouraging people to “let their freak flag fly,” the hashtag is apt, in that in all Burton films, freakiness is par excellence. This film differs not.
This fantastic journey starts in a less than fantastic place, suburban Florida, with its tired mid-century rancher homes and less than stellar teenagers in all of their basic bitchiness. It is in this wasteland that we meet our hero, Jake (Asa Butterfield), a square peg in a round hole sort of fellow that witnesses the aftermath of his grandfather’s murder by mysterious circumstances. As it turns out, while Jake’s teen years were lacking, his childhood was made rich by his grandfather’s wild tales of a home away from home where the charges were odd, peculiar even and the housemistress was fantastical.
In an attempt to make sense of the stories he was told and to seek closure from his grandpa’s grizzly death, Jake and his father (played by a perfectly bland Chris O’Dowd of IT Crowd fame) set out to find out the whereabouts of the Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) of his grandfather’s tellings. It is no shock that yes, Jake discovers Miss Peregrine and her brood and that yes, they are indeed very different. The peculiarities of the children run the gamut from having a giant saw-toothed mouth as a nape of a young girl’s neck to having a boy with a body filled with angry bees and everything in-between.
Eva Green creates a Miss Peregrine that is sharp, witty and true that positively lives for the children, while having her own wicked streak. The film is action-packed and has the Burton love of the macabre aesthetic. While marketed to children, this would be best suited to those brave souls 10 and up, and only if they can handle some violent and gruesome situations. Little ones who are squeamish and on the gentle side ought to sit this one out.
While not Burton’s best, it is still a fun ride that will entertain a mature family via its unique story, stellar cast and interesting visuals.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children premieres in cinemas September 30.