×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Tiger Eyes’

This first proper film adaptation of a Judy Blume novel is effectively tailored to a very specific target viewer.

With:
Willa Holland, Amy Jo Johnson, Tatanka Means, Elise Eberle, Cynthia Stevenson, Forrest Fyre, Russell Means.

Like the much-beloved kid lit of its source author, “Tiger Eyes,” the first proper film adaptation of a Judy Blume novel, is effectively tailored to a very specific target viewer. For a certain type of contemplative teen girl, its sensitive handling of heavy material will surely prove affecting, though the pic sometimes veers too far to the sleepy end of low-key. In the end, it represents a solid blueprint for a later, better Blume adaptation, but that’s hardly anything to scoff at. Directed by the author’s son, Lawrence Blume (who adapted along with his mother), “Tiger” looks destined for a limited, if appreciative audience.

Shortly after her father is murdered in a robbery, taciturn New Jersey teen Davey (Willa Holland) and her family head out to stay with relatives in Los Alamos, N.M., home of the Manhattan Project, for a brief visit that stretches into an extended stay. Abruptly thrust into a new high school, Davey struggles to adjust to to a life that includes her increasingly catatonic mother (Amy Jo Johnson), a gradually forgetful younger brother and all the typical miseries of high school. (Blume’s attunement to the rhythms of young adulthood are best captured by an awkward yet non-traumatic, ill-starred date, and in the film’s disapproving yet non-hysterical eye toward teenage drinking.)

Meandering around the well-lensed desert expanses, Davey encounters a soulful American Indian dude (Tatanka Means) with whom she begins a careful flirtation, while an unexpected undercurrent of geopolitical subtext subtly rears its head. If the resulting stew of largely familiar ingredients sometimes errs on the side of moony melodrama, it is at least allowed to simmer at a gentle enough rate for its key virtues to survive unscorched.

While a number of individual scenes and stray bits of dialogue strike odd notes, the emotions and intentions behind them ring true, and when the film finally deigns to hit some emotional pressure points, heartstrings are adequately pulled. Thesping is solid all around, and tech credits are effective, if generally smallscreen-caliber. The presence of the late actor — and fiery Lakota activist — Russell Means (Tatanka’s father), in one of his last roles, lends the pic an extra bit of metatextual resonance.

Film Review: 'Tiger Eyes'

Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, June 3, 2013. Running time: 92 MIN.

Production: A Freestyle Releasing release of an Amber Entertainment presentation in association with Belladonna Pictures. Produced by Judy Blume, Lawrence Bloom, Lawrence Elman, Ileen Maisel, Mark Ordesky. Executive producers, George Cooper, Jane Fleming, Ruth Pomerace.

Crew: Directed by Lawrence Blume. Screenplay, Lawrence Blume, Judy Blume, from the novel by Judy Blume. Camera (color, DV), Seamus Tierney; editor, Jay Freund; music, Nathan Larson; production designer, Sharon Lomofsky; costume designer, Tere Duncan; sound, Lori Dovi; supervising sound editor, Louis Bertini; assistant director, Joe McDougall; casting, Kerry Barden, Jo Edna Boldin, Paul Schnee.

With: Willa Holland, Amy Jo Johnson, Tatanka Means, Elise Eberle, Cynthia Stevenson, Forrest Fyre, Russell Means.

More Film

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. More Reviews [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content