An orphan whom nobody seems to love reads a rare book on hypnotism and goes through a series of adventures thanks to her new powers. Young teen girls with a taste for fantasy should find themselves enjoying themselves along with Molly. I am not sure that the appeal will stretch beyond that audience for this uneven film based on a series of Molly Moon books by British author Lady Georgia Byng. Christopher N. Rowley directs.
Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10
Life is not very nice for twelve-ish Molly Moon (played by Raffey Cassidy) who lives at Hardwick House Orphanage, a place like something out of Charles Dickens. There orphan girls labour under a sign that says ‘Chin up. Work Hard. Be Useful.’ The girls there have no life but work. Food is unsavoury fish soup (fish eyes intact) or chicken feet three times a day. Molly breaks the ‘no fun’ rules by sneaking time to read. All this is ruled over by the tyrannical orphanage mistress Edna (Celia Imrie) but things could be worse. On the staff is Miss Trinklebury (Emily Watson) who loves the children and tries to cushion them from the blows of a hard world.
At least that was Molly’s life before she ran across a very old, very rare and very precious book on the art of hypnosis. There is only one copy left in the world and it happens to be at the library that Molly sneaks to. After one or two quick lessons from the book, Molly has some success. When Molly’s eyes turn bright green, nobody can resist her orders. A dangerous criminal (Dominic Monaghan) knows of the power of the book and wants to use that power for evil plans, if he can only get the book from Molly.
The story at first feels like it takes place somewhere in the past, but that nice timeless atmosphere is punctured by Molly’s visit to London, complete with modern rock and very contemporary television. Actually, Molly goes through three different adventures each with a very different feel. She has the orphanage experience, becomes an internationally famous pop singer and tangles in a robbery plan by London criminals. Each story has a different texture.
The theme song of the film is ‘Believe In Myself’, which is a good message for young adult girls and the song is good for the first two or three times it is used, but it overstays its welcome in repetitions. Speaking of messages, the idea of success through hypnotism may not be best lesson for the young viewers.
There are too few films that aim for a female young teen market. The stories covered may well charm girls growing to young adulthood but beyond that demographic this film may not be greatly rewarding. ‘Molly Moon And The Incredible Book Of Hypnotism’ mostly aims for the right audience, but is a little too twee to get much of a following outside that market. I rate the film a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10.
ARC Entertainment will release ‘Molly Moon And The Incredible Book Of Hypnotism’ on VOD, iTunes and in some theatres on August 14, 2015.
Mark R. Leeper
(c) Mark R. Leeper 2015