Josh's review of KEPLER'S DREAM
Based on the young adult novel Kepler’s Dream by Juliet Bell, the movie tells the story of friendship, family and a girl’s journey to understand the broken family she comes from. More specifically, the film introduces us to Ella, an 11-year old girl (Isabella Blake-Thomas) who reaches out to her estranged father (Sean Patrick Flanery) after her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ella’s father then goes on to send her to stay with his mom for the summer on a desert ranch in Arizona - a ranch which Ella quickly dubs, “The Broken Family Camp.”
Ella’s Grandmother, played by Holand Taylor, is an eccentric book and art collector who lives among her collections on the ranch, along with her handy man, Miguel and his family. Ella finds her Grandmother somewhat cold and a little scary to be around. She is also annoyed at her Grandmother's need to wake her up early every morning during her summer vacation. Ella takes to calling her 'The GM' because she acts more like the general manager of the family and less like a grandmother. However, in time Ella finds herself intrigued by the large collection of rare books the old woman has.
Eventually, Ella makes friends with Miguel’s daughter, Rosie (Esperanza Fermin), who teaches her to ride horses and about the history of how their two families are linked. The story is soon kicks into high gear when one of Ella’s Grandmother’s books, Kepler’s Dream - a very rare first addition written by the great astronomer Johannes Kepler - goes missing. As a result, Ella and Rosie soon find themselves on a quest to find it; however, along the way, Ella discovers that finding the book might be the one thing that brings her family back together and saves her mother.
Although the movie fails to do more with the cinematography and natural settings of the Arizona desert, Blake-Thomas gives Ella a real charisma that draws the audience in. She also develops a natural chemistry with Taylor as the film unfolds. However, the film’s story is somewhat predictable and feels rushed in places. It’s not a terrible movie, but it could be a great movie if it could overcome some of its flaws.
Overall grade: C+
Kepler’s Dream: Starring Isabella Blake-Thomas, Sean Patrick Flanery, Kelly Lynch, and Holand Taylor. Arrives in theaters in December.