Storm Boy (PG) | Close-Up Film Review

Although all  cinemas are closed, films and the Close-Up Film web site will continue to operate. You will be able to get the reviewed films on DVD – bought or rented- or through various streaming services including MUBI and Netflix.

Dir. Shawn Seet, Australia, 2019, 94 mins

Cast: Finn Little, Jai Courtney, Geoffrey Rush, Trevor Jamieson

Review by Michelle Moore

When it comes to movies based on the rescue and rehabilitation of animals, it certainly tugs at the heart strings and at times, can bring a tear to the eye; Storm Boy is no exception.

This beautiful and contemporary re-visioning of Colin Thiele’s Australian tale is one for a new generation of audiences; who are quite familiar with the theme of saving wild animals after the likes of Free Willy, Dolphin Tale and Big Miracle which are all based on saving oceanic creatures. This one however is a pelican.

The story revolves around retired businessman Michael Kingley (Rush), who upon attending a board meeting begins to get flashbacks and recounts his long-forgotten childhood to his granddaughter. He tells her the story of his lonely life with his father living in an old shack, isolated on a remote island after the death of his mother and sister.

This changes when he discovers three baby pelicans in need of help after their mother is shot. With the assistance of an Aboriginal neighbour (Jamieson), the pelicans are rescued and raised; the smallest and weakest of which Michael (Little) names Mr Percival.

Over the course of the movie there are moments of sadness, however the movie highlights the beautiful and special relationships that children form with animals; bonds that are memorable and can outshine any child/child friendship at this age.

It is remarkable how one young boy’s experiences and perspective on life can change with the introduction of an outside source and the responsibility of caring for another life. These extended flashbacks as older Michael retells his story are incredibly heartening.

There is no flashy images, no special effects or graphics. Things are kept simple, straight forward and honest, of course the beautiful Australian beach side and ocean aid this.

The emotion comes from the manner in which the story is told and from the incredible acting of the cast, notably child actor Finn Little who delivers a stunning performance with raw talent, a natural charisma and likeability. He shows powerful emotions; excitement, enthusiasm and heart as well as sadness and horror at the more powerful segments. It is he who brings this emotive story to light and will be welcomed into your homes.

Storm Boy is a story of unconditional friendship and is available across all major Digital Download platforms from April 6th.