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'Opal Dream'

Creepy: Sapphire Boyce
photo: Strand Releasing
Creepy: Sapphire Boyce

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Opal Dream
Directed by Peter Cattaneo
Strand Releasing, opens November 22

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Rush screaming from anything that announces itself as "a movie for children and grown-ups of all ages." Slight and shamelessly saccharine, Opal Dream is devoted to the proposition that it takes an Australian-outback village to validate the imaginary friends of a blond child who is too sensitive for this world but not, alas, for this sappy movie. Adapted from what I suspect is a much better children's novel by Ben Rice, the story turns on eight-year-old Kellyanne (Sapphire Boyce), an arty type who takes after her precious-stone-prospecting dad (Vince Colosimo) and does the pale-and-consumptive thing when her ethereal buddies Pobby and Dingan disappear. Everything goes wrong, until suddenly everything goes right when Kellyanne's practical brother, Ashmol (Christian Byers), and their long-suffering mum (Jacqueline McKenzie) rustle up all the crusty salt-of-the-earth types in their dusty village to bond in sympathy for the vanishing dreams of children large and small. Awkwardly directed by Peter Cattaneo, who also made The Full Monty, Opal Dream is burdened with lashings of that movie's schmaltz, but none of its raucous comedy. Pardon my disbelief, but even G-rated tots will roll their worldly little eyes.

 
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