Movie reviews: Wonderstruck; Winchester


Movie reviews

Based on Brian Selznick's 2011 novel of the same name, Wonderstruck is a charming film about two lonely and misunderstood children on a journey to find an absent parent.

They are separated by time. Born deaf, Rose (Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf in real life) is the poor little rich girl from 1927 who runs away from home in pursuit of actress Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore).

Ben (Oakes Fegley), from 1977, runs away from home in the wake of his mother's death in a bid to find the father he never knew. The boy also suffers from hearing loss, though his is from a recent freak accident.

Their story sort of converges at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The plot may be a little thin, but director Todd Haynes creates a rich and gorgeous film.

The two young actors deserve much praise. While Fegley - last seen in 2016's Pete's Dragon - gives an impactful performance, it is newcomer Simmonds who emotes with much depth and wide-eyed amazement that encapsulates the title of the film. - JOANNE SOH

WINCHESTER (PG 13)  2½ ticks

Movie reviews

A mysterious labyrinth of rooms and staircases, the real Winchester mansion in California creates the ideal backdrop for a horror film that is full of intrigue and terror - both of which are severely lacking in The Spierig Brothers' (Daybreakers, Predestination, Jigsaw) take on the myths surrounding the house.

The movie is set in 1906, and Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) builds an elaborate mansion out of guilt to appease the ghosts of those killed by the rifles her late husband manufactured - all while being assessed by a psychologist and sceptic (Jason Clarke).

While both actors' performances are convincing, their characters are bland. Clarke's backstory serves merely as a tool to bring the plot forward.

More gratingly, the film relies heavily on cheap jump scares and rips off the source material for that "based on a true event" marketing tagline.

Thankfully, its immaculate set design adds a flavour of authenticity while the overall story line is fairly engaging. - SAMFREY TAN