Making the Grades
A mimzy? If it rings a bell, then perhaps you're a fan of Lewis Caroll. He uses the term in a nonsense poem within his classic novel Through the Looking Glass (although he spells it mimsy). In this movie, which plays upon the same idea of peeking into another world, Mimzy is a proper noun -- the name of a stuffed rabbit that washes ashore inside a very interesting container.
This encased bunny and many more very peculiar objects are found by Emma and Noah Wilder (Rhiannon Leigh Wryn and Chris O'Neil) while playing at their parents' beach house outside Seattle. Sensing their newfound treasures may be taken away if they show them to Mom (Joely Richardson), the siblings try to keep secret the floppy-eared toy, a glowing green rock and an assortment of other stones that spin weightlessly in the air.
However, it doesn't take a mother's intuition to begin detecting unexplained changes in the children. Over the following weeks Noah, who was struggling in school, begins creating a science fair project that is literally out of this world and drawing Tibetan mandalas (geometric designs). At the same time, little Emma is becoming obsessively attached to the stuffed rabbit, which she claims is speaking to her. Nor do these unusual behaviors go unnoticed elsewhere. Soon Noah's science teacher (Rainn Wilson) and his girlfriend Naomi (Kathryn Hahn) -- both followers of new age Tibetan religion -- are prodding Mom and Dad (Timothy Hutton) to investigate.
Yet the parents' efforts to intervene with their kid's fixation on the playthings are in vain. Contrary to their past behavior, the brother and sister are now cooperatively working together and taking instructions from the rabbit in the hopes of saving another generation from extinction. But as Emma and Noah attempt to solve the problem of the future, they begin interfering with the present -- and that alerts some hypersensitive authorities
As far as content goes, the greatest concern for young viewers will be the portrayal of some heavy-handed government agents who barge into the Wilder home and apprehend the family under the Patriot Act (any political statement this may make is likely intentional). Other scenes of characters in peril and the uses of a few mild profanities may also be of concern.
However, for older children, teens and adults, The Last Mimzy does provide an engaging sci-fi adventure story. Focusing on the relationship between the siblings (played marvelously by these young actors), the film addresses the serious topics of teamwork and recognizing the impact of today's decisions on tomorrow -- although a serious inspection of all the plot points is not advisable.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Last Mimzy.
The controversial Patriot Act has been alluded to in other movies as of late (like The Astronaut Farmer). How can subtle (and not so subtle) political comments be made using the technique of introducing a real life concept into a fictitious story? If your family is interested in knowing more about The Patriot Act, the American Library Association maintains a page that links to a variety of factual and analytical resources: http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/ifissues/usapatriotact.htm
The family in this movie has a second home on Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington State. For more information on this location, check these sites: