Is living forever the greatest gift of the ultimate curse? This is the question that both the ALA notable book, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, and the movie based on the book raise. Both explore the exciting possibility of never facing death, the harsh reality of a never ending life and the greed that it can bring. A look at the similarities and differences will reveal that the theme, along with the general story line, was one of the few things that remain the same in the translation from book to movie.
The book and the movie are alike in the portrayal of a young girl, Winnie Foster, on the verge of womanhood, who feels discontent with her sheltered life. She comes upon the Tuck family, Mae, Angus (referred to as Tuck), Miles and Jesse, who share a surprising secret, everlasting life, the source of which is a spring found in the woods belonging to Winnie’s family. Winnie is kidnapped by them until they are sure she will not reveal their story. The Tucks are being searched for by a mysterious man in a yellow suit who suspects their secret. The man in the yellow suit desires to own the woods and exploit its contents for personal gain. He discovers where Winnie is held and offers to tell her family in exchange for ownership of the woods. Winnie’s family agrees and the man in the yellow suit leas the sheriff to the Tuck’s home. Mae, the mother of the Tuck family, hits the man in the yellow suit over the head when she discovers his plan. Mae is then taken to jail and sentenced to hang when it is discovered that the man in the yellow hat died from his injuries. The Tucks are extremely concerned because Mae will not die when she is hung and their secret will be revealed....
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...ild. In the movie, Winnie directly confronts the guard on duty in the jail and dramatizes fear and concern over being chased. The Tuck boys, Jesse and Miles, are waiting outside looking like supernatural outlaws and scare the guard, who runs away. Winnie unlocks the cells of Mae and Tuck. This complete change of rescue tactics felt contrived and unreal. The writers of the movie, most likely, felt the added suspense and drama created would make for a better movie and the older Winnie could play the part.
The movie is, most likely, done well enough to intrigue its intended audience. It captured the theme and story line of the book. It falls short, though, when compared to the beautiful, sensitive and contemplative prose of Natalie Babbitt. One could only hope that a viewing of the film will lead the watcher to try the book and be delighted all the more.
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