“Everything happens for a reason,” says one of the characters in this feeble feel-good movie that blends childhood trauma, “Peter Pan” and dementia into its family friendly tale. While “The Storyteller” aspires to be a feature-length Hallmark card, it only manages dollar-store sentimentality in its plot and platitudes.
Led by a small fairy out of the forest, young Abby (Brooklyn Rae Silzer) seemingly appears out of nowhere at a retirement home, but aging Rosemary (Constance Towers) thinks she is the sister she lost as a youngster. While child services tries to figure out where she came from, Abby stays with Rosemary’s granddaughter Maggie (Samantha Colburn), bringing little more than her copy of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” to her new, temporary home. Maggie and her angsty adopted daughter Jen (Cassidy Mack) struggle to find common ground, but Abby’s kind, calming manner and her love for music bring them together.
Director and co-writer Joe Crump has assembled a solid cast for his narrative feature debut, but there’s only so much they can do with the script written with Rachel Noll. Full of jumbled themes and ideas, the earnest drama tries too hard and accomplishes too little. “The Storyteller” blames the viewer’s cynicism if they’re not inclined to clap and say, “I do believe in fairies,” but the problem actually lies in its own inability to offer a credible narrative.
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood