Sylphvania Grove utilizes the trope of the lost child in a strange world brilliantly, creating a tale that viewers of all ages will adore and relate to. A ten-year-old girl, Mycena, has difficulties at school with teasing from other kids, but also suffers at home with neglect from her parents that borders on emotional abuse. At bedtime, she retreats into her fantasy books to escape her reality. One evening, a wisp emerges from her book to take her on an adventure, where she faces down her fears in the form of mystical creatures.
Beauty encases the film in so many ways, almost like a poetic dance of various talents - sets, costumes, makeup, lighting, music, and acting. When everything comes together in such a gorgeous manner, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the screen. Rebekah Fieschi greatly honors not only the movie but the entire fantasy genre by obtaining the best to work on her film. Nothing is lacking, and nothing is out of place.
There are definite correlations between Sylphvania Grove and the works of Guillermo del Toro, and it’s easy to see the Pan’s Labyrinth influence throughout this film, almost as if a homage to one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. Yet, Fieschi also inserts her own style and charisma into the movie, making it a unique undertaking. Again, I must mention the music and how well it underscores the film, courtesy of Zak Millman, who has also worked in the music department for several video games. The music sets an immediate tone for the movie and carries the viewer through the ups and downs until the very end.
While all of the actors did a phenomenal job, especially Charlie Gillette as babysitter “Kim” and Meaghan Bloom Fluitt as “Dotoira,” no one stood out like Maxine Wanderer. At such a young age, she dominates the screen as Mycena and endears viewers to her from her first line. This is an actor to keep an eye on, as I’m sure she will do many great films in the future.
I think my only complaint about the movie is that it’s too short – and that is intended as a compliment. Everything was accomplished as it should be; the story folded up neatly in the end, so it technically needed no more added. But, I wanted to spend more time in that world with the characters and the captivating music serenading me through the tension and suspense. A full-length film of Sylphvania Grove would probably go over very well with fans, allowing viewers like myself to revel in the fantastical world that Fieschi created.
All in all, if you enjoy fantasy and don’t mind following a wisp of your own, be sure to check out Sylphvania Grove which will be available this summer. The movie will also be showing at the 2018 Austin Revolution Film Festival on September 20th.
Creative Team: Written, produced, and directed by Rebekah Fieschi
Cast: Maxine Wanderer, Meaghan Bloom Fluitt, Charlie Gillette, Samarah Conley, Jessica Baird, and Al Pagano
Click here to visit the website.
Click here to view the trailer.