Review: Twigson

Twigson is a fun and friendly family film about a boy who becomes best friend with a twig. Based on the famous children’s book, Twigson has become a good fantasy adventure for pre-school children.

While Sweden had Astrid Lindgren (author of Pippi Longstocking and Mio my Mio), Norway had Anne-Cath Vestly who since the 1950s wrote numerous children’s stories and books, and became the country’s most beloved author of all generations. Generation after generation grew up with her Grandma and Twigson tales, as well as her sweet voice on the radio. Anne-Cath was basically everyone’s grandmother, culturally speaking. It’s therefore no surprise that a film would be made of her Twigson books, although the first film had to wait until now, as CGI could solve the problem of a speaking, moving, living pine twig.

Twigson is about Lillebror (meaning “little brother”) and his family, who moves from the city to the country. There is nobody to play with there, so Lillebror finds a twig that seems to be a little different than other woonden debris. In fact, it is very different, because it thinks, talks and moves – it’s alive! Of course, only Lillebror can see and hear it, just like only Calvin can talk to and get responses from Hobbes. Lillebror names the would-be-firewood piece Knerten (which is the film’s original title, meaning something like “little piece of wood”) and with the aid of his imaginary friend he gets through everyday hassles such as unfriendly girls and a mysterious forest princess.

While children’s movies often use fantasy elements to circumvent “boring” realism and to attract attention, Twigson is an example of a child’s inside imagination impacting the outer world, thus enabling him to survive. That’s how important this theme is. We have all dreamed up fantasy friends like this, which makes Twigson a universal example of how children work. This is also why this movie will go down so well with most young viewers. They can all relate to the film. But it is not just a psychological drama, it is first and foremost a comedy and I can imagine how 6 year old kids will be very amused by seeing that their imaginary friends can actually come to life. Wether your kid has a twig or a doll or a rag, giving them the idea that their fantasy friends can be real must be an amusing concept.

However, as with all good fantasy tales, Twigson is not only fun and friendly. It also has its fair share of scares and spooky moments. This makes the film a more complete adventure for the youngsters, as boyhood is not only about cuddly twigs and nice mates. Lillebror learns to deal with his challenges and that is a lesson every kid should copy.

As far as family and children’s films goes, for its age group (4 – 10) Twigson is amusing, fun and has a big heart. The characters of Anne-Cath Vesly are well represented and watching her universal story can never be too offputting even for adults.

Twigson is the first of (so far) 3 movies. A sequel was released in 2010 and another one is coming out in 2011.

Directed by Åsleik Engmark

Norway, 2009

Rated 7 of 10.

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