The Railway Children (2000)

[Screenshot] recommended I see the classic adaptation of this charming E.Nesbit story (which, uh, I have not read). This is unfortunately not that adaptation, but you take the film Netflix gives you. It’s charming and well-intentioned, but more-or-less by-the-numbers. Once again we have child actors, who actually perform their roles OK but still feel a bit too small in terms of dramatic presence for the roles they’re expected to take. Even Jemima Rooper, who’s old enough to have an established career, doesn’t really emote a wide range of emotions. As for the “adult characters” (Rooper’s 19, but she’s not playing an adult), few of them get the screen time to really shine. Attenborough does well enough, but his is a fairly limited role anyways. Gregor Fisher probably has the most satisfactory acting in the film, since he has a range of reactions and the chops to pull them off. Moving beyond the acting, the story is sweet and charming if simplistic, but I guess that’s to some extent echoing characteristics of the source material. The setting is beautiful, and seems consciously designed around the idealism the story is suffused with: aren’t real railway towns dingy and rundown? But this railway town is clean, and people, though poor, are upright and strong. But of a false note realism-wise, but tonally demanded, I suppose.

Hopefully at some point I’ll get a chance to watch the “good” version and compare.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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