Based on Natalie Babbitt’s award winning novel the big screen version of Tuck Everlasting is less than perfect but far more successful than much of the family fare that makes it to the big screen today. Set near the turn of the century Tuck Everlasting tells the story of Winifred Foster whose struggle to escape the straight laced confines of her family eventually leads her to run away. Winifred (played with smooth perfection by the stunning Alexis Bledel) runs away to a wood owned by her family but inhabited by a family who has lived there for many years.
Winnie stumbling onto the Tucks could not have been more inopportune as all the Tucks had gathered together for their 10 year anniversary meeting. The story is a simple one which unfolds at a leisurely pace due in part to a lot of short cuts being taken that makes the story of the movie somewhat different from the story in the novel. The key difference is the age of Winnie who in the book is ten years old and in the movie is fifteen which makes romantic entanglement with the seventeen year old Jesse inevitable.
If you have read the novel then you know the story of the Tucks but the movie is essentially about the Tucks, the cross they bear and the impossibility of love in their circumstance. There is a ton of talent on the screen of this movie. Alexis Bledel is flawless as are Sissy Spacek (Mae Tuck) and Jonathan Jackson (Jessie Tuck). William Hurt (Tuck), Amy Irving (Mrs. Foster) and Victor Garber (Mr. Foster) are underused in the most egregious way but you cannot blame the actors for the lack of script for them. Ben Kingsley plays his role as the stalker of the Tucks (the man in the yellow suit) with his usual aplomb and is delightful as a bad guy (not on a par with his role in Sexy Beast but still quite threatening).
Tuck Everlasting is foremost a family movie that is best suited to an audience that includes girls ranging from the age of 9 to 12. It could provoke some discussion about the meaning of mortality and how we chose to live our lives or it could just be an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half.