Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
RELEASE DATE: 29 September 2016
Another best-selling children’s book has been mined for the movie screen, and parents might be thinking has become an occurrence as regular as springtime. But the arrival of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children holds the key to a spiritual lesson that’s well worth regular consideration.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is based on a New York Times Bestseller by author Ransom Riggs. It introduces us to Jacob Portman (Asa Butterfield), a 16-year-old boy who is the special favourite of his grandfather Abe (Terrence Stamp). The old man tells his grandson he grew up in a special orphanage filled with strangely gifted children who live under the protection of ‘an old bird’. When Abe dies in mysterious circumstances, Jake goes looking for the orphanage and discovers a sanctuary locked in 1940s Britain where the marvellous Miss Peregrine keeps her charges safe from dark creatures.
Films like this one can help… open our children’s eyes to the TRUTH that they are involved in a much more significant drama.
Among the occupants, Jake meets a girl who is lighter than air, a boy who stores bees inside himself and, most importantly, a young woman who has the power to control air. Emma, played by Ella Purnell, has actually been living in the orphanage’s time bubble for close to a century. Together they explore Jake’s own power to see Hollowgasts – the gruesome creatures that hunger for the powers he and other ‘Peculiars’ possess. Soon his ability to see the unseeable will becomes crucial for their survival as voracious creatures of the night gather to destroy Miss Peregrine’s refuge.
Author Ransom Riggs is a connoisseur of forgotten worlds. His personal hobby is collecting ‘found photos’ – old and orphaned pictures that have found their way into flea markets and swap meets. These black-and-white visions of bygone ages were the inspiration for his novel, and often capture unusual moments and expressions in the midst of everyday life. Through them we glimpse intensely personal stories that are simultaneously strange and familiar. It’s this foot-in-two-worlds feeling found both in the film and the book that contains the greatest benefit for the Christian.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children uncovers a significant plane of existence that exists alongside, underneath and behind our own. Those who follow Jesus aim to encourage their children to hold the same perspective. The New Zealand and Australia in which they live is just that part of reality that protrudes into the visible and tangible. Behind it is a spiritual world in which our everyday words and actions take on dramatic significance. That’s because, the apostle Paul writes, ‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6:12).
Films like this one can help us in some ways to open our children’s eyes to the truth that they are involved in a much more significant drama. But, unlike the inhabitants of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, this is not a story where they have to fear the ending. They have entered the fray at a point in history where the battle is already won. Thanks to Jesus’ triumph, it is the enemy who is on the back foot. The only real danger for little minds is succumbing to a distinctly 21st century error: This is all there is.
This review comes from The Lutheran October 2016. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.