The turning wheel of Tuck Everlasting begins as disparate
lives dovetail into one tale. The Tucks, the Fosters, and
the Man in the Yellow Suit are the constituents of this story
set in the early 1900s; the life unlived is the crux upon
which they turn.
Protagonist Winifred Foster (Bledel, from the WB’s
“Gilmore Girls”) is a young girl searching for a way out of
her constrained lifestyle. Jesse Tuck (Jackson, the
old Lucky from ABC’s “General Hospital”) is simply searching
for love. The Man in the Yellow Suit (Kingsley) is
searching for the Tucks, and more importantly, the source
of their secret. Then Winnie’s parents begin the search for
her, as she disappears at the beginning of the film to stay
with the Tucks, for days, then weeks, then who knows how long.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of searching going on in this
With the Tucks, Winnie’s unbridled personality is set free
and she falls in love with the youngest son, Jesse. The Man
in the Yellow Suit successfully finds the Tucks, but unfortunately
meets his fate soon after. The Fosters eventually find Winnie.
But the real question is, will the audience find merit in
this lyrical text translated onto the movie screen?
Bringing an excellent novel to the big screen is never an
easy task. Fans will always criticize the final product regardless
of its merit. Natalie Babbitt’s children’s novel Tuck Everlasting
is a fine story, but surprisingly Disney’s new adaptation
of the novel wasn’t a terribly bad ride. Lambasting the film
would have been easy had it been completely ineffectual or
drab. However, there are some highlights worth mentioning.
A component of Tuck Everlasting’s partial success
is due to the scenery in the movie, more so than any other
factor. It is, in one word, spectacular, and as a result the
turn of the last century territory of Treegap becomes a character
in and of itself. Much of the filming was done in Harford
County, Maryland, and within its Susquehanna State Park. The
lyricism of the story, which is so key to the integrity of
the book, is effectively brought to life through wide panning
shots of springtime fields, glistening lakes bathed in sunlight,
and a breathtakingly blue waterfalls.
In addition to the backdrops, a few actors shine as well.
Spacek’s performance as Mae Tuck gives the movie a
much-needed extra oomph toward the eerie, but loving, undertone
of the book. And although William Hurt’s role is small,
his acting is deft as the leader of the eternal Tuck clan.
The role of the Man in the Yellow Suit is also small, but
Kingsley delivers an articulate performance in his
few moments on screen. In general, the casting is on par on
Despite these highlights, negative aspects are noticeable
amidst the shimmers of promise. The most obvious is the character
development. The majority of the characters fail to develop
fully, even though they have ample screen time to do so. (A
few scenes are entirely too long, and although beautiful,
the extra seconds seem unnecessary.) Concerning the character
development, Winnie’s parents are lacking the most. Whether
it was the adapted screenplay or the direction, they simply
don’t seem oppressive enough to warrant their daughter feeling
The film presents Natalie Babbitt’s story in a gentle way
with no outstandingly rough edges (which wouldn’t necessarily
have been a bad thing). Although the novel is intended for
children, the subject matter translates a bit differently
on screen, and ends up being a little too heavy for the youngest
of audience members. All in all, the movie is slow and beautiful
like the novel itself, but might be a little too humdrum and
deliberate for the general public.
—Sandra M. Ogle