This family-friendly drama may be inspired by a 17th-century book of the same name by the visionary astronomer, but the movie “Kepler’s Dream” lacks imagination. The final product from co-writer-director Amy Glazer feels flat and never coheres around the voice of its young protagonist.
Based on Juliet Bell’s young-adult novel, “Kepler’s Dream” centers on 11-year-old Ella (Isabella Blake-Thomas). While her mother (Kelly Lynch) is treated with chemotherapy, Ella is sent to the home of her rigid grandmother (Holland Taylor), whom she has never met, thanks to her absentee father (Sean Patrick Flanery). Wi-Fi-free boredom sets in on her grandmother’s ranch, but Ella finds offline adventure. She unravels a mystery when a priceless copy of a Johannes Kepler text is stolen from the library, and loyal ranch hand Miguel (Steven Michael Quezada) is accused of the crime.
Glazer has recruited a largely talented cast led by the always-strong Taylor, with likable support from Quezada. However, the film never comes together around them with its lackluster script and muddled perspective.
Fans of the book and those looking for inoffensive family entertainment may be won over by “Kepler’s Dream,” but it has little to offer other audiences. Composer Patrick Neil Doyle’s string-and-piano-centric score insists that we feel something for these characters, but it doesn’t succeed in manipulating us into caring about them or their adventures.
Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Playing: Regency Plant 16, Van Nuys; also on VOD