Fantastic Mr. Fox

In this 2009 stop-motion adaptation, Wes Anderson has added an existential layer to the protagonist of Roald Dahl's 1970 children's novel. Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) is no longer just a devoted husband and father trying to put food on the table, but instead a gentleman bandit who walks upright and steals not out of necessity but because he's good at it. Having given up his life of crime at the behest of Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep), Mr. Fox remains, in his heart, footloose, fancy-free, and looking to make one last score. "Who am I? Why a fox?" he asks, literally stating the film's unanswerable question. "And can a fox ever be happy without a chicken in its teeth?" Where Dahl's book was essentially a survival story, Anderson's film has become a non-conformist fable about that wildness of spirit we are encouraged to tame as we get older and "settle down." Clooney and Streep do some of their best work, rendering an unusually convincing portrait of a marriage, one of many ways in which Anderson's film is—underneath all the carefully affixed, wind-sensitive whiskers and fur—his most deeply human to date. Movie screens at midnight. (PG) SCOTT FOUNDAS

Fri., June 24; Sat., June 25, 2011

 
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