“Family film” isn’t the first genre that leaps to mind when talking about Todd Haynes. The director of Safe, Carol, and I’m Not There tends to specialize in specifically adult preoccupations, like forbidden romance, musical legacy, drugs, sex, repression, and the toxicity of modern living. He does not, as a rule, make movies for all ages. Of course, one could have once said the same about gangster-movie luminary Martin Scorsese before he delightfully adapted Brian Selznick’s illustrated historical fiction novel The Invention Of Hugo Cabret into a new classic of warm-hearted, whirligig family cinema. Maybe Selznick is the key to getting these grownups in touch with their inner children, because Haynes has now taken his own swing at the author’s work with an adaptation of Selznick’s juvenile-lit bestseller, Wonderstruck.
Amazon Studios, which is partnering with Roadside Attractions to distribute the picture, has released a brief, elliptical first look.The film, like its source material, takes place in two timelines, tracking the parallel adventures of a young deaf girl (newcomer Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf herself) who runs away from home in 1927 and a young boy (Oakes Fegley from Pete’s Dragon) who does the same 50 years later. This out-of-context clip hints at the bifurcation of the narrative, intercutting a scene of Fegley’s character chasing another child through a museum with shots of Simmonds wandering, presumably, through the same location a half-century earlier, gawking at the murals and nature dioramas. It’s a genuinely lovely little snippet of wordless action; for a couple of transporting minutes, the film’s title becomes literal.
Wonderstruck, which also stars Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Tom Noonan, doesn’t hit U.S. theaters until October. But it will be competing for the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which we’ll be covering from the ground starting Thursday. Look for our first take on the movie in a week. And check out the official teaser poster below.