Title: Tuck Everlasting
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Romance
My Rating: ***
Official Rating: PG
Age Group: 14+
Winnie Foster is tired of her stuffy, rich life. She has been pampered and prodded into what society considers womanhood, but she feels confined, like she's never lived. Finally, she's had enough and runs away, only to stumble into the Tucks, who have a secret that they can't risk having discovered.
Jesse Tuck and his brother Miles kidnap Winnie and bring her back to their parents, and the Tucks, unsure of what to do with the girl, keep her as a permanent guest.
But one man knows the Tucks' secret - they became immortal after drinking magical water. And this man means to exploit the secret for the good of society (and his own pocketbook).
The Bad - (In chronological order)
- Winnie disobeys her mother and plays baseball, and she refuses to be sent to boarding school.
- Jesse endangers his family's secret against his father's orders.
- The villain remarks to Winnie, "You find trapping suitors more interesting anyway."
- Winnie runs away from her family.
- The Tucks kidnap Winnie.
- Miles is surly and grumpy. He causes a lot of conflict within his family.
- We (and several male characters) see Winnie in her (1800's) underclothes.
- The villain is searching to sell immorality, and admits to a priest/preacher that he is playing God.
He unashamedly takes pride in this blasphemy.
- Jesse falls in love with Winnie almost immediately. While their romance is entirely innocent, several of the situations they get themselves into are not. They go swimming together (in their underclothes), and Jesse helps Winnie to swim. Winnie dances suggestively for Jesse, though it's obvious that he has no bad intentions during this scene. They spend the night in the woods together, talking for the most part. They kiss several times, but are interrupted by Miles. This (innocent) night in the woods is mentioned later, and out of context the comment is inappropriate.
- Miles gambles and is obviously drunk. He cheats in the card game.
- We are shown various images of non-bloody accidents.
- Miles' wife left him because she though he was in league with the devil.
- The Tucks are accused of witchcraft.
- Jesse is shot by the villain.
- Mrs. Tuck kills the villain in self-defense.
- Mr. and Mrs. Tuck are sentenced to hanging.
- Winnie lies in order to help the Tucks escape.
- Jesse and Miles purposely get shot so that they can pretend to be "undead".
- Swearwords are limited to one heck, one h**l (in context), and one use of God's name in vain.
The Good -
Tuck Everlasting is essentially about growing up; it explores some really cool ideas, like the effects of immortality, the importance of living life to the fullest, the value of old age, and the beauty of responsibility. And for the most part, the movie comes to the right conclusion about all of these things.
The Tucks see immortality as a curse. Miles especially is bitter about his fate, but the other Tucks are more accepting of their situation. Mr. Tuck tries to explain to Winnie the many downfalls of immortality, and urges her to live her life instead of just existing, like the Tucks must.
Jesse, completely in love with Winnie, doesn't see the uselessness of immortality, and urges her to drink the magic water so that they can live together forever. Winnie is obviously tempted, but the knowledge that she will never be able to actually live the life she has been given stops her.
The movie ends with Jesse, dressed in modern clothes and driving a motorcycle, approaching a gravestone marked "Winifred Foster - Beloved Wife, Beloved Mother."
When I first watched this movie a few years ago, I was inclined to be more in sympathy with Jesse than with Winnie. How could she abandon him!? Why didn't she drink the water like he asked!?
But as I sat watching it the second time, I understood Winnie's decision.
While the Tucks lived on and on, forever, Winnie chose death. It's a strange thought, but what point is there to living if we don't end up dying?
During the movie, I cringed at the acting and the awkward love story and the overlong nature scenes, but thinking back on it, Tuck Everlasting is probably one of my favorite movies. It's incredibly beautiful, and even the sad ending isn't depressing, but rather a wonderful reminder.
"Be afraid of the unlived life."