The Secret of Moonacre, directed by Gábor Csupó in 2008, is definitely full of magic and
fantasy. Maria Merryweather becomes an orphan after her father’s death. It is revealed that her
father had a serious gambling problem and lost the majority of their possessions (including their
home). But, he leaves Maria with a storybook that tells the story of Moonacre’s curse and the war
between the Merryweather and De Noir families. Maria, left in the care of her uncle who happens
to live in Moonacre Valley,  finds out that the stories from the book are true. She, the new moon
princess, is the one meant to return the previous moon princess’ pearls to the sea and save the
valley from the curse.

      There are some really great portions of the film. For example, costuming can make a feel even
more magical and this film takes advantage of that. The story is set around the late 1800s and,
while the costumes reflect the time period, there have been more details added to make them more
whimsical.

      Also, magic elements such the pearls, unicorns, and Marmaduke the fairy like chef, amp up
the fantastical aspect of the film. In some ways, along with the tension within the two families, I’m
reminded of both the Alice in Wonderland book and films. Sometimes it can be hard to wrap your
head around what’s actually happening, but somehow it makes sense.

      While I do appreciate the creative aspects of the movie, there are a few problems with the film
that take away from its magic. First, I honestly feel as if some of the dialogue is a little forced or
cheesy. Some of the lines seemed a little out of place which caused the plot to feel slow in some
places and rushed in others. This is also true of the characterization. I understand character
growth as characters learn more about themselves and how to interact with each other, but I could
not pin down some of the characters. For example, I initially rooted for Maria, a seemingly lovably
headstrong and independent character, but then she seems selfish and immature as the movie
progresses. There are also quite a few plot lines that sometimes run over each other.

      But, all in all, I enjoyed the movie. If you’re a fan of fantasy, I’d definitely suggest watching this
film. It might lack in a few areas, but the magic and action make up for it!
Fantasy Flashback: The Secret of Moonacre
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Director: Gabor Csupo
Starring: Dakota Blue Richards, Loan Gruffudd, Tim Curry, Agustus Prew, Natascha McElhone
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