A Home for Curiosities
A boy wanders through the woods, in search of some adventure – something that would make his long, summer days a bit more exciting. He stumbles upon a large house in the middle of a clearing within the forest and walks in to ask for directions. It is there that he meets a peculiar woman, who invites him for tea and a chat.
'A Home for Curiosities' taps into the infinite potential of creativity and the limitless boundaries of imagination, especially when talking about children. It’s a world full of possibilities for a young audience, while gently treading into nostalgia territory for any adult viewers. The film hits a mid-point between realism and fiction, between comedy and drama, between 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Hansel and Gretel', between children and adults. It will mean different things for different people, and this is ultimately its greatest charm.
What 'A Home for Curiosities' does best is how it chooses to spread its light-hearted essence through several narrative means. One of these elements, for instance, is the opening narration coming from the main character, which is often punctuated with comic relief moments and oozes a carefree attitude that many of us shared when we were the same age as the protagonist. Another key element is the slightly offbeat turn of events once the boy enters the house – he is invited to a sort of tea party (unsurprising since his friend is called Alice), and while the host is no Mad Hatter, it is clear where the inspiration comes from.
From a visual standpoint, 'A Home for Curiosities' makes its character-centric nature very clear, with most shots consisting of facial close-ups of several protagonists. Apart from a few establishing shots, we don’t get much in terms of the house and its décor, but that is primarily because ‘the house’ is a symbol of stories, memories, and everything in-between. This metaphor also serves to explain the slightly more eccentric and ambiguous scenes and the jumbled plot structure.
Of course, not everything is spot-on: the acting, and especially the body language of some characters is a bit awkward and unconvincing. The plot structure might leave many confused, and we felt that there were a few moments when the opportunity was there to inject more substance and meaning into the plot, but the potential was wasted. Lastly, the film doesn’t manage to fully achieve a maximum impact of its key moments, such as the ending, and fails to punctuate these in order to stand out. However, it remains a very pleasant journey through memories that all of us treasure, no matter how young or old we are.