Tuck Everlasting

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Bob Smithouser

Movie Review

Imagine if you could live forever. Not in heaven, but here. Would you want to? In Tuck Everlasting, that opportunity presents itself to Winnie (Bledel), a restless teen who, seeking respite from her family’s stifling Victorian propriety, stumbles upon a backwoods clan that has discovered a spring of eternal life.

At first a hostage of the reclusive yet hospitable Tucks, Winnie develops a sweet bond with the youngest son, Jesse (Jackson). Freed from her world of corsets and croquet, she decides to extend her visit. Jesse tenderly expands her horizons—and lets her in on the family secret. Will Winnie choose to remain a teenager forever and spend those days with Jesse? Meanwhile, Winnie’s parents send out a search party that includes a mysterious stranger tracking the Tucks in his own thirst for immortality.

Directed by Jay Russell ( My Dog Skip ), this wholesome family film raises lots of questions about mortality and concludes that, to be fully enjoyed, life must be experienced in its intended stages. It’s hard to seize each day with passion when time is limitless. Jesse’s dad cautions Winnie, “What we Tucks have you can’t call livin’. We just are, like rocks stuck at the side of a stream. You can’t have livin’ without dyin’. Don’t be afraid of death, Winnie. Be afraid of the unlived life.”

Set in the days of buckboards and general stores, the story is enriched by a stellar cast and a lack of profanity and sexual situations. Theological issues, a few violent moments and talk of family tragedy may be too much for younger children. However, Tuck Everlasting is a great message movie for parents and teens.

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Bob Smithouser