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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism movie review: you are getting very angry…

Molly Moon red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
This desperately terrible children’s fantasy is an unpleasant mishmash of dated slapstick, unwittingly sinister adventure, and icky magic.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

From its frankly amazing all-star, Anglophile-favorites cast — Emily Watson, Dominic Monaghan, Celia Imrie, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Miller, Lesley Manville; plus Joan Collins — to the font used in its title design, Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism would like you to believe you are in for some Harry Potter-style awesomeness. Be not fooled. This desperately terrible children’s fantasy, based on the first book in the YA series by Georgia Byng, is an unpleasant mishmash of hopelessly dated over-the-top slapstick, orphan-in-the-big-city adventure that ranges from unlikely to dangerous to unwittingly sinister, and icky magic that is meant to be charming and is instead deeply disturbing. Orphan Molly Moon (Raffey Cassidy: Tomorrowland) escapes her terrible life in a group home that would appall Charles Dickens — the abuses Molly and the other kids suffer are meant to be kooky and funny — thanks to a book on hypnotism that allows the tween to convince adults all around her to give her a lift to London, put her up in the fanciest suite in the fanciest hotel she can find, and make her a worldwide pop star. Seriously. Along the way, the obnoxious, selfish little brat unconvincingly learns that it’s wrong to trick the entire planet and that orphans gotta stick together, even if that means running away from the adoptive parents one has wished for all along. (This is the terrible lesson that Molly’s pal Rocky [Jadon Carnelly Morris] learns.) If there’s any magic here, it’s in how director Christopher N. Rowley manages to find precisely the wrong tone for every scene, and in how he was able to convince so many very good actors to go along with this abominable charade.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism for its representation of girls and women.

red light 1 star

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Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism (2015) | directed by Christopher N. Rowley
US/Can release: Aug 14 2015 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: Dec 02 2016

MPAA: rated PG for thematic elements and brief language
BBFC: rated U (very mild slapstick violence, threat)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • LaSargenta

    Everyone needed to make mortgage payments. Obviously.

  • Danielm80

    I know what desperate means. I know what terrible means. I don’t know what “desperately terrible” means. I’m so confused.

  • LaSargenta

    Not for quibbling?

  • Danielm80

    For kvetching, neurosis, and lack of caffeine.

  • If there’s an issue or problem with my review, I’d like to know about it.

  • LaSargenta
  • LaSargenta

    Hey, I’ve got fire alarm testing happening here. You don’t hear ME complaining, do you?

  • Danielm80

    I think the problem was my lack of sleep.

  • Danielm80

    Not on this thread. Only on the Marine thread.

  • LaSargenta

    You haven’t looked at the NY Times article link thread then.

  • Danielm80

    But the horse video more than makes up for the kvetching.

  • LaSargenta

    Horses make up for a lot. So do goats. Don’t let anyone get yours today.

  • Hank Graham

    My favorite comment was at the Molly Moon ice cream shop, here in Seattle. The owner got a chance to see it at the Seattle International Film Festival. For a while, the white board in his shop had the comment, “Molly Moon Ice Cream! (NOT associated with the movie.)”

  • amanohyo

    Are we allowed to use the phrase “cool story bro”to convey sincere and genuine appreciation? If so, then it is done. I need to pay that shop a visit the next time I wake up in the Emerald City.

    So much wasted talent, money, and time. How does it happen?

  • Danielm80

    This seems to be the month when every obscure or underemployed actor I like shows up in a lousy movie: Raffey Cassidy in this film; Rebecca Hall and Busy Philipps in The Gift; and Hugh Grant, who’s apparently one of the few redeeming features in The Man from UNCLE.

  • Bluejay

    one of the few redeeming features in The Man from UNCLE.

    Hm? It’s getting mixed-to-good reviews, as far as I can tell.

  • Danielm80

    No one seems to actively hate it. Most of the reviews say: Your life will not change in any way if you see this movie.

  • David

    “the abuses Molly and the other kids suffer are meant to be kooky and funny”

    This reminds me of similar complaints that a lot of people had about the movie “Matilda” that came out in the mid-90s. How does this movie compare to that one?

  • Tonio Kruger

    Damn subprime rates!

  • I’ve never seen *Matilda,* actually. So I cannot comment.

  • bronxbee

    you are spared a horrifyingly bad version of this story. bad, bad, bad…

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