Ethan longs to get out of his boring southern town, applying to colleges as far away as possible.
His attention is quickly diverted, however, upon the arrival of Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a mysterious girl (hmm…) sent to live with her uncle, local recluse Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons).
The excellent Viola Davis valiantly struggles as the town librarian who doubles as (oh dear) a saintly soothsayer.
Englert, who has presence and self-possession to burn, is the standout — but there’s just enough here to make the inevitable sequels a not-entirely-unwelcome prospect.
That being said, the movie was still pretty darn good.
If only the filmmakers had tried to make those young hearts pound over a better movie.
As for the rest of film's stars, a few of them have been acting for ages, including "Veronica Mars" alum Kyle Gallner and "Phantom of the Opera" songbird Emmy Rossum.
Interestingly, almost all of these rising actors have a famous connection: several have showbiz parents and one was "discovered" by Steven Spielberg.
She has the magical powers of Lena in the book, but without the moping and with only about half the temper tantrums.
“What is so interesting about her particular brand of supernatural abilities is that it involves her emotional sensitivity actually manifesting in her surroundings, in the weather.