The meaning of Tim Burton’s film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
When viewing a picture, the viewer asks the question whether what he saw is a fairy tale for children and adolescents or is it intended for older viewers? After all, the main characters of the picture are children, which means that the target audience should be of this age. However, the terrifying scenes are amazing almost from the very beginning of the film, but they clearly delineate where in the film is good and where is evil.
As the director himself declares, he does not shoot films for a specific audience, his work is for everyone. Film distributors noted the film for viewers 16+, which is quite justified, since a dark and action-packed story clearly does not pull on a cute fairy tale.
Prehistory of the appearance of the film
In 2012, Rensom Riggs’ novel “House of Peculiar Children” became a bestseller, but even the success of the book was not the reason that the master of psychedelic fairy tales, Tim Burton, became interested in its adaptation. A fantastic dark story about amazing children, with a budget of 110 million dollars – exactly what the famous director who shot the famous films “Edward Scissorhands”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. As fans of the strange kids trilogy note, there are many changes to the film from the novel. For example, the gender of the psychotherapist is male in the book.
The plot of the main storyline is the mysterious death of Abe (Terence Stemp), the grandfather of 16-year-old Jacob Portman (Ace Butterfield). Since childhood, Abe has told his grandson about the orphanage for strange children, run by Miss Peregrine, and in which he lived with his unusual friends. Now young Jacob has to find this house and a temporary loop – September 3, 1943 on an island in Wales. After the death of his grandfather, those around him, including the therapist, try to convince Jake that the whole story with the orphanage is just fiction. To get rid of doubts, the main character goes with his father to the island of Curlholm.
Getting to know strange children and their home
Children from the orphanage find Jacob themselves and bring him to their wonderful home, where a punctual and smart umbrina is already waiting for him – Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). The main character immediately recognizes all the inhabitants from the photographs and stories of his grandfather. Emma is a girl who was lighter than air, Bronwyn is a girl with the strength of a dozen men, Millard is an invisible boy, Olivia is the mistress of fire, Horace is a dude who has prophetic dreams, dumb twins and other mysterious characters. They live in their own world, but they realize their place in the overall picture of the universe.
Further, Jacob’s relationship with the children develops as in a small social group – the authors of the script show that unusual people have the same feelings, quite familiar to all of us. Teenage jealousy is clearly emphasized (Enoka is clearly not satisfied with the appearance of a newcomer in the house), children’s pranks and resentments (while playing football, children quarrel, proving their rightness), it would seem, such extraordinary inhabitants, stuck in one day – the day when their shelter was bombed.
What is the movie about?
One of the main messages of the film is that strange children are forced to hide from strangers. And very young toddlers and adolescents, if they are not like everyone else, must be protected from the world around them. Perhaps this accent in the picture is associated with childhood fears and resentments of each of us – children are vulnerable and impressionable, especially if they are different from the rest. According to the plot of the film, we learn that the main villain himself, Mr. Barron, was also an unusual person who was teased as a child. But now he became callous and merciless.
Also, the viewer can find the hidden meaning in the teenager’s doubts: to believe adults or not? Should you believe in Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, gnomes? Should Jacob believe in children with amazing opportunities that Abe told him about from childhood? Or come to terms with the fact that his beloved grandfather deceived him all his life?
Jacob is the antagonist of the American Dream
If in many classic American stories an ordinary person can succeed by overcoming difficulties, then in this picture almost all the main characters have innate unusual abilities. Even Jacob seems like a pretty standard teenager, but as the plot progresses, we learn that he also has an inherited gift. And it is this gift that is so necessary for the fight against the Voids, because only the main character can see them. This story is not about a random character who has achieved success, this is a novel about a growing superhero who only reveals his abilities for a noble goal.
The characters are revealed directly during the confrontation with terrible creatures that very remotely resemble people, they have terrifying long legs and tentacles. These creatures are ruthless and … no one sees them except Jacob, who arrived on the island! And his deceased grandfather. The shy protagonist considers it his duty to protect special children.
In the denouement of the plot, despite the individuality and the revealed image of each character, the idea is laid that only a team can achieve success. If everyone does what they do best, and not prove their exclusivity, then together the strange children will save themselves and Miss Peregrine. In the battle with the Void, the children use their powers to the maximum, helping each other – even in a scary world with strange creatures, the most important thing is mutual help, love and friendship.
Eva Green perfectly embodied the idea of the role of umbrina – a kind, but strict guardian of the house of strange children. Semuel L. Jackson in the role of Mr. Barron conquers with his skill of reincarnation, he manages the image of a genius villain without any inconsistencies. With regard to children, the director’s task was to make them behave as childishly as possible, even though they are “superheroes”.
Interesting Movie and Book Facts:
- The house from the movie really exists – it is located near Antwerp in Belgium, its name is Torenhof.
- This story has a sequel – Riggs wrote two more books, so fans can hope for a film adaptation with the participation of their favorite actors.
- The author draws inspiration for the novel from old photographs with otherworldly plots. And these photos Riggs showed Tim Burton even before filming began.
After watching this atmospheric picture, a pleasant aftertaste remains, and not because all the troubles ended in a happy ending. Excellent graphics, well-designed characters and talented actors were able to embody the director’s idea – to depict a completely new world with new bright memorable characters. Gloom, strange creatures, the main characters with quirks do not oppress the idea that good must win.