The Secret of Moonacre 2008 Movie Scene Dakota Blue Richards as Maria Merryweather sitting in her room at her desk

The Secret of Moonacre [2008]

Good fantasy movies are pretty rare these days and The Secret of Moonacre is luckily one of them. Sure, we’ve got all the big franchises but sometimes you want something a bit more personal and smaller in scale. So, when you don’t know what to watch during those lazy Sunday afternoons, this movie will do just fine. It features the classic story of forbidden love, two rivaling families, and a young girl trying to sort out that mess. And magic, we can’t forget the secret ingredient and that’s freaking magic.

At first, I taught that this is going to be another Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe/Narnia rip-off, but I was partially wrong. Directed by Gabor Csupo who’s previous movie Bridge to Terabithia was a success, The Secret of Moonacre is actually based on the novel The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. So, it was strange to see so many cliches and obvious plot twists. However, they were compensated with a vibrant atmosphere, excellent costumography, and even better set design. The soundtrack is also great, taking you back to your childhood and hitting all the feels.

Maria Merryweather is a young girl whose father just died. Homeless and without money, she has to go to live with her eccentric uncle Sir Benjamin. When she finally gets to Moonacre Manor, she will realize that there are things that science simply cannot explain.

If you’re older you have to keep in mind the fact that The Secret of Moonacre is a fantasy movie primarily oriented towards children. This doesn’t mean that adults can’t enjoy it because I certainly did. With a hefty budget of $27 million, it looks very appealing and cinematography is simply top-notch. The lighting, however, was completely off. Almost every scene features just too much light. There needs to be a bit of dark, not only to add energy to the scene but also not to make sets look fake. Still, I think that the pacing is the biggest problem but then again, it’s that type of a movie. The acting was solid with Tim Curry screaming for more room and Dakota (The Golden Compass) confidently leading.

Charming and easygoing, The Secret of Moonacre has a runtime of just over ninety minutes. This makes it a short and sweet affair. You can also analyze why stories and concepts like this appeal to us. Or why do people think that something like this would appeal to us? Is there some mythic structure behind all of this? Does the tribal system of values or patriarchy rear their ugly heads here? Whatever your choice is, you should have a good time.

Director: Gabor Csupo

Writers: Lucy Shuttleworth, Graham Alborough, Elizabeth Goudge

Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Dakota Blue Richards, Tim Curry, Natascha McElhone

Fun Facts: The producers ran an Internet poll, subsequently causing a title change. The Secret of Moonacre was a more popular title then the book’s The Little White Horse.


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