I’ve always loved animated films like James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The theme of my bridal shower was actually the Corpse Bride. So when I saw Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart pop up on Netflix, I did everything I could not to jump up and down in excitement. I had no idea if it was another Tim Burton movie or not (I kind of live under a rock), but the images and the storyline were my favorite mixture of clockwork and whimsy. I found out it’s actually not a Tim Burton movie at all. It’s based on a book (The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart) which was written by the lead singer (Mathias Malzieu) of the French band Dionysis. And you can hear Dionysis all throughout the movie.
The story is about a boy who’s born on the coldest day ever. So cold in fact that his heart freezes over and has to be replaced with a tiny cuckoo-clock. Because of this, he’s not allowed to feel any extreme emotions or his heart will overheat. It’s really a beautiful movie with amazing music and lots of symbolism.Most of the reviews that I’ve read keep saying the same thing — that this movie is NOT for kids. Which is funny because the first time I watched this movie was with my kids. Atlas only paid attention when there was music, but Shade sat and watched the whole thing with me. In hindsight, I probably should’ve watched it first before letting Shade watch it with me. I was just way too excited to wait for their bedtime.
Besides, Shade has watched Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas countless times.This movie does deal with some heavy issues like bullying and death. Shade asked me a lot of questions while we watched the movie (and comes up with new ones every time she re-watches it) and I answer her questions as best as I can. I mean, as a parent, you never really KNOW if you’re doing the right thing. But I’ve always believed that I’d rather discuss the issues with Shade and Atlas BEFORE those events actually happen. That way they recognize what’s happening as it’s happening and aren’t confused about what’s going on or how to act. I’m definitely not the parent who will tell the kids that the family dog went to live on a farm. Death is a part of life. Yes, it’s a very sad part and we’re allowed to be sad. But I don’t want them to think that death is some mysterious thing that they’re not allowed to talk about. And bullying, well, whether it’s happening to them or to someone else, they should realize what it is when they see it. And I hope talking to them about it early in life will give them confidence to ACT when they see it happening. Knowledge is power.I absolutely recommend this movie to anyone who loves animated features, especially if you have a soft spot for any of the movies that I mentioned. And if you have kids, I won’t say “no, don’t show them. It’s not a kid’s movie!” Nor will I say, “yes, do it!” It’s up to you to make that decision. It’s a gorgeous movie that I think any kid will love, but be prepared for it to raise a lot of questions.
You can see more at jackandthecuckooclockheart.com.
And now I will leave you with one of the many beautiful scenes from Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart: