Wendy (2020)
111 min|Drama, Fantasy, Thriller|17 Apr 2020
5.7Rating: 5.7 / 10 from 3,781 usersMetascore: 55
Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.

Wendy is a fantasy adventure film directed by Benh Zeitlin who also directed Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) who successfully won 4 nominations at the Academy Awards. Like Beasts, Wendy also featured several unknown child players, namely Devin France, Yashua Mack, Gage Naquin, and Gage Naquin. The audience’s expectations are undoubtedly high, considering the previous work of filmmakers. Is Wendy able to give more expectations? One thing is clear, unlike Beasts, this time, Wendy is not an easy story to digest.

Once upon a time, Wendy was a little girl who lived in a small town in the south. He lives with his mother and two twin brothers in their little restaurant, which is right next to the railroad track. One night, Wendy saw a little kid running on a train car that was running. Out of curiosity, Wendy jumped onto the train, followed by her two sisters. They were taken to a unique place, far away on the opposite island where they would never grow old.

The idea of ​​the story is interesting, which seems a metaphor from the story of Neverland (Peter Pan) which of course we are very familiar. However, one very frustrating thing is an absurd story. This film is not for children. Guaranteed, even adults will have difficulty reading the film. Almost all the dialogues are spoken poetically, whose meaning is not easily understood. On the opposite, the message of the film is quite simple.

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Besides the absurd story of the film, there is no doubt. This film is played by some unknown little stars who play extraordinary. These children player have above average talent and can play very naturally. I can’t imagine if they were playing in a regular drama, the results would be extraordinary. They all seemed to be used to the camera. It’s not easy, acting with dialogue like what they do.

With a fantastic visualization of settings, Wendy is a unique adaptation of the “Peter Pan” story with all its absurdity to convey a simple message. Such a magnificent volcano setting and long train cars certainly have symbolic motifs. The Peter Pan story, telling us always to have a cheerful and happy soul like children. Instead, Wendy asks us to accept the reality that we will grow up and face many problems. This film is not intended for children but adults. Are they ready to release their children to achieve their dreams in their way?

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A lifelong cinephile, he cultivated a deep interest in film from a young age. Following his architectural studies, he embarked on an independent exploration of film theory and history. His passion for cinema manifested in 2006 when he began writing articles and film reviews. This extensive experience subsequently led him to a teaching position at the esteemed Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta. From 2003 to 2019, he enriched the minds of students by instructing them in Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory. His scholarly pursuits extended beyond the classroom. In 2008, he published his seminal work, "Understanding Film," which delves into the core elements of film, both narrative and cinematic. The book's enduring value is evidenced by its second edition, released in 2018, which has become a cornerstone reference for film and communication academics across Indonesia. His contributions extend beyond his own authorship. He actively participated in the compilation of the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Volumes 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Further solidifying his expertise, he authored both "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). His passion for film extends to the present day. He continues to provide insightful critiques of contemporary films on montasefilm.com, while actively participating in film production endeavors with the Montase Film Community. His own short films have garnered critical acclaim at numerous festivals, both domestically and internationally. Recognizing his exceptional talent, the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival shortlisted his writing for Best Film Criticism (Top 15). His dedication to the field continues, as he currently serves as a practitioner-lecturer for Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts' Independent Practitioner Program.


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