‘Wendy’ (2020): Review by FF2 Media

Written by Benh and Eliza Zeitlin, Wendy is a reimagination and modernization of the classic fairy tale, Peter Pan, told from the perspective of Wendy. Visually and auditorily stunning, this film captures the wonder of being a child (JRL: 4 / 5)  

Review by FF2 intern Julia Lasker

Wendy opens on a spritely young toddler with a head full of curls, who hobbles around a busy diner run by her single mother. She watches another young boy, Thomas, intently as her mom declares that she and Thomas will one day run the diner. In protest, Thomas runs out the door, rips off his pants and waves them in the air like a flag, and jumps onto a moving train at the beckon of another youngster who sits on top of it. 

A few years later, nine-year-old “Wendy” (Devin France) has not lost her fascination with the moving train. One night, she sees the young boy on top of the train, this time beckoning her. In a frenzy, she wakes her twin brothers “Douglas” and “James” (real identical twins Gage and Gavin Naquin) and they hop on the train without sparing a moment to say goodbye to their mother. They are greeted by “Peter” (Yashua Mack), who guides them through the beautiful landscapes. Suddenly, he pushes them off the train into an ocean, and they swim to a huge and glorious island, with a smoking volcano looming over it. 

Now in Neverland, Wendy and her brothers join a group of wild young boys, including Thomas, who hasn’t aged since the day he left on the train. They romp around the island, play-fighting, and swimming in beautiful underground caves. Peter introduces them to the Mother, a huge, whale-like creature with a glowing golden underbelly, But Wendy soon learns that everlasting youth isn’t a guarantee in Neverland; if you stop believing, you grow old and fast: a fact which eventually threatens the entire island. 

The film’s principal actors deliver performances that are just as compelling, if not more, than those of adults in the field. Devin France as Wendy (her very first onscreen role!) has incredible power and command of the screen as well a face you just don’t want to take your eyes off of. Her counterpart, Yashua Mack who plays Peter, matches her power impressively and brings new complexity and depth to the formerly rather straight-forward character. 

The writers (Benh and Eliza Zeitlin) exhibit skill, as well. Their reimagination does a wonderful job of making a classic story feel urgent and relevant to our time. Wendy begins the film already working, at such a young age, in a diner; she has to, because her mother is single, raising three children, and working day in and day out. No wonder Wendy longs for an escape, for the ability to feel like a kid and not an adult. This film is echoing a very real experience for kids who grow up poor, especially those with single parents. 

Very few films have evoked the level of excitement in me that the first half of Wendy did; something about the wonder of the children and the beauty of Neverland when they first discover it filled me with an unprecedented amount of joy. Admittedly, the film felt like it slowed down a bit once the excitement of the kids discovering the island and finding the freedom to run around and play wore off, and the plot lost the high-action, an exhilarating element that it had started off with. This made for an ending that wasn’t as satisfying as the beginning of the film had promised. 

However, to me, the mastery of the film just isn’t the plot. What’s incredible about what writers Benh and Eliza Zeitlin and director Benh Zeitlin have done with Wendy is the feeling that they create: the feeling of excitement and joy just referenced above. There are constant scenes of the kids running around, playing pretend, and laughing loudly, a voiceover in the form of imaginative storytelling, and constant moments of wonder inspired by the island. The music adds another layer of drama and awe. This film brings the feeling of being a kid right back to you, reminding you how magical that time of life truly is. 

© Julia Lasker FF2 Media (3/5/20)

Review Commentary by Contributing Editor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Wendy addresses a lot of the critiques that could be made of the whole Peter Pan story, but it still doesn’t deal with the fact that Wendy is expected to be a “mother” to a bunch of boys who by their own admission refuse to grow up. While the Lost Boys don’t explicitly name Wendy as their mother in this film, it’s still pretty clear by the way she has to save them from virtually every danger that this indeed her role. It was never fair to Wendy that she ends up having to play the role of the adult for others even in a fantasy world where supposedly kids never have to grow up. 

When you look at Wendy’s world outside of Neverland, you realize that this is duplicated in her everyday life. In the beginning, it’s made clear that Wendy’s two brothers get to run around like hooligans while Wendy is stuck helping her mom out at the diner. Her mom is even raising Wendy and her brothers as a single parent, and while I forget if the dad is supposed to be dead or if he actually left them, the effect is that a woman is still the only responsible one in the family. I would have loved for that to actually be addressed rather than being placed as a fairly background element of the story. The level of notice this pattern is given by the narrative just doesn’t make it seem like this was an intentional statement on the offloading of emotional labor onto women so much as an uncritical reproduction of it.

Q: Does Wendy pass the Bechdel-Wallace test? 

A: Yes!

Photos Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

110 comments

  1. Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog
    and I’m inspired! Very helpful info specially the final
    phase 🙂 I maintain such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  2. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
    this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.

    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  3. Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
    it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make
    my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Many thanks

  4. hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up
    something new from right here. I did however expertise some
    technical points using this website, since I experienced to reload the website many times previous
    to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web hosting
    is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage
    your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much
    more of your respective fascinating content.
    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  5. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, great site!

  6. Greetings I am so thrilled I found your web site,
    I really found you by error, while I was researching on Bing for something else,
    Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a
    incredible post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to
    go through it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so
    when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  7. My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.

    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on numerous websites for about a year and
    am concerned about switching to another platform.
    I have heard good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into
    it? Any help would be really appreciated!

  8. I truly love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting
    to create my own personal blog and would like to learn where
    you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thank
    you!

  9. Nice post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely helpful information particularly the final phase :
    ) I care for such information a lot. I used to be seeking this particular information for a
    very long time. Thanks and good luck.

  10. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d
    ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article
    or vice-versa? My website goes over a lot of
    the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each
    other. If you might be interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!

  11. First of all I would like to say excellent blog! I had
    a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself
    and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had a difficult
    time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do
    enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

  12. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with your blog.
    It appears as if some of the written text within your content are running
    off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know
    if this is happening to them too? This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Kudos

  13. I was recommended this web site through my cousin. I’m now not positive whether
    or not this put up is written by way of him as nobody else know such distinctive approximately my difficulty.

    You’re incredible! Thank you!

  14. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my
    iphone during lunch break. I really like the info
    you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good site!

  15. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  16. Great items from you, man. I have be aware your
    stuff previous to and you are simply extremely excellent.
    I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really
    like what you’re stating and the best way wherein you assert it.
    You are making it entertaining and you continue to care for to stay it smart.
    I can not wait to learn much more from you. That is actually a terrific site.

  17. Just wish to say your article is as astounding.

    The clarity on your publish is just nice and i could suppose
    you’re a professional on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to
    stay updated with imminent post. Thanks a million and please carry
    on the enjoyable work.

  18. I’m really inspired with your writing abilities and also with the
    layout in your blog. Is that this a paid topic or did you customize
    it your self? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days..

  19. We stumbled over here coming from a different web address
    and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i
    am following you. Look forward to finding out about your
    web page again.

  20. Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your articles.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?

    Thank you!

  21. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the superb work!

  22. Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the
    information!

  23. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your weblog.
    You have some really good articles and I feel I
    would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of
    the load off, I’d really like to write some content for
    your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested.

    Many thanks!

  24. I used to be suggested this website by way of my cousin.
    I am no longer positive whether or not this post is written by
    means of him as nobody else know such exact approximately my problem.
    You’re wonderful! Thank you!

  25. Terrific article! That is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared around the net.

    Disgrace on the seek engines for now not positioning this post higher!
    Come on over and visit my website . Thanks =)

  26. I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

  27. Great article! That is the type of information that should be shared
    across the internet. Shame on Google for not positioning this publish higher!
    Come on over and seek advice from my website . Thanks =)

  28. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could
    get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having
    trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

  29. I am not positive the place you’re getting your information, however good topic.
    I must spend some time finding out much more
    or understanding more. Thank you for fantastic information I used to be on the lookout
    for this information for my mission.

  30. Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look.
    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Outstanding blog and superb style and design.

  31. I think this is one of the most significant information for me.

    And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is great,
    the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  32. I feel that is one of the such a lot significant information for me.
    And i’m satisfied reading your article. However want to remark on few common things, The
    web site style is ideal, the articles is in reality great : D.
    Good process, cheers

  33. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board
    and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out much.
    I hope to give something again and help others like you aided me.

  34. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources
    back to your site? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would
    genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks a lot!

  35. Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve be aware your stuff prior to and you are just too great.

    I really like what you have obtained right here, certainly like what you’re stating
    and the way wherein you say it. You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to care
    for to stay it smart. I can not wait to read much more from you.
    That is really a wonderful site.

  36. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer
    to create your theme? Great work!

  37. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make
    your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative
    to read?

  38. Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my
    blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Thank you

  39. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone
    and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop,
    just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she
    has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  40. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly
    useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help
    others like you aided me.

  41. I am really delighted to read this web site posts which carries plenty of valuable information, thanks for providing these information.

  42. I really like your blog.. very nice colors &
    theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire
    someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got
    this from. appreciate it

  43. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button!
    I’d without a doubt donate to this brilliant blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!

  44. Admiring the hard work you put into your website and detailed information you present.
    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once
    in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material.
    Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding
    your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  45. hey there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked up something new from right
    here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to
    I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?
    Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will
    very frequently affect your placement in google
    and can damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot more of your respective interesting
    content. Ensure that you update this again very soon.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *