Film Review – The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

Lauren of Team DC managed to catch a special preview screening of the anticipated ‘The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet’ starring, (Team DC honorary member) Helena Bonham Carter.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (the man behind the much-loved Amelie) the film is an adaptation of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen. Where many films fail to translate from book to screen, Jeunet has managed to maintain the essence of the book and stayed faithful to the source.

There’s a wonderfully quirky feel to the film, as it narrates the story of T.S Spivet – a child prodigy of ten who travels across the United States, from a ranch that he shares with his parents and siblings in Montana, all the way to Washington in order to collect the prestigious Baird Prize awarded by the Smithsonian Institution for one of his inventions.

Along his journeys, we are able to indulge in some stunning visual shots of wide, open landscapes; vivid colours (with a palette of green and red dominating the screen), and intricate details in the costume and set design that altogether add to the charm of the film.


One of the most pleasantly surprising aspects of the film is the use of 3D technology. Unlike some films that have recently taken to making use of the 3D treatment, it does not appear as an after-thought, but rather, it is intricately – and naturally – woven within the narrative to express the incredible imagination of an extraordinary child. Throughout the film, the screen is often decorated with a direct insight into the scientific mind of T.S, with text, diagrams, equations and pictures projected across the screen echoing the playfulness and design of the original book.

The film appears to have been designed to entertain a wide audience of both children and adults alike, who will most certainly find an array of aspects to enjoy. There is plenty of heart to the story, and despite a selection of witty moments, there is a far more sombre and sentimental tone that hangs over the film. Through this, the catalyst for the young boy’s journey becomes clear, and a greater depth emerges from the characters that surround him.


Though there is much that could be interpreted and analysed throughout the film, what becomes apparent, at the most basic level is that the film is a celebration of imagination. Specifically, in this case, the imagination of an extraordinary child, but also the imagination of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and those that contributed to the making of this feature, which has so evidently been crafted with much effort and love.

In cinemas from June 13, 2014

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