Mean Dreams (2016)

Director: Nathan Morlando

Writer: Kevin Coughlin, Ryan Grassby (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Wiggins, Sophie Nelisse, Joe Cobden, Bill Paxton, Vickie Papavs, Colm Feore, Ryan Blakely


Plot: Follows Casey and Jonas, two teenagers desperate to escape their broken and abusive homes and examines the desperation of life on the run and the beauty of first love.

Tagline – The law won’t protect you

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Bleak, but Hopeful


Story: Mean Dreams starts when teenager Casey (Nelisse) moves into a farming home with her sheriff father Wayne (Paxton), their neighbours are the Ford’s with teenager son Jonas (Wiggins) becoming friends with Casey, starting a romance, even with his father Elbert (Cobden) not wanting his son easily districted.

When Jonas tries to stand up for Casey against her abusive father, he gets put in his place, trying to get help he finds only barriers, until he takes a stand to save her as the two look to go on the run.


Thoughts on Mean Dreams


Characters – Jonas was raised to follow in his father’s footsteps on the farm, he only does this work and doesn’t get to meet anybody from town, until he meets his new neighbour. He sees her in danger, risking his own life to save her, going on the run, learning to live at last, while trying to escape the law that is after him. Casey is the abused daughter of one of the sheriffs who moved into town, he is a dirty cop living with his own regret. She sees a ray of sunshine in Jonas who could help her escape the hell she is living through. Elbert is the father of Jonas, he is known as a soft touch in town and wants his son to follow in his footsteps. Wayne is the abusive father of Casey’s, he is a dirty cop and his action led to his wife’s death.

PerformancesJosh Wiggins and Sophie Nelisse are both wonderful as the teenagers from broken homes who will do everything for each other in an attempt to escape a futureless life, the two show each emotion and moment of determination to escape. Bill Paxton as the abusive father is just as disturbing as you would imagine his character to be.

StoryThe story follows two teenagers who fall in love and want to escape their broken homes in search of a future together, they go on the run with stolen money which sees them need to learn how to survive of the grid. This does show us how children could be victims of abuse in Casey’s side of everything and still look normal on the outside, while Jonas is being kept away from the world to do a job he doesn’t have any interest in being apart of. We get to see how desperate the two have become to make it out of the life which doesn’t have much left for them already. This does show the bleak future, while leaving them feeling hopeful because everybody is against them even the law, which they didn’t break in the first place.

ThrillerThe film does keep you on edge as you wait to see just how everything will unfold, this does give us a sense of unease at times during the film too.

SettingsThe film takes us to a poorer area in America, this shows how the families have become used to the life rather than seeking something more from it.

Scene of the Movie –
Standing up for yourself.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have been bleaker in the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that shows us just how difficult the life would be for the teenagers, it shows how they enjoy the escape because it will give them the freedom they couldn’t see coming.


Overall: Bleak, beautiful and hopeful.



The Book Thief (2013)

logoDirector: Brian Percival

Writer: Michael Petroni (Screenplay) Markus Zusak (Novel)

Starring: Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Kirsten Block, Heike Makatsch, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer


Plot: While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Powerful, Moving Drama


Story: The Book Thief starts by when Liesel’s (Nelisse) brother dies, talk about a sad start right? Liesel gets adopted by the Hubermann’s Hans (Rush) and Rosa (Watson) who had planned to take both the children to help hide them during the war. Rosa is very strict while Hans is fun trying to make her time with them fun. Local boy Rudy (Liersch) tries his best to befriend Liesel and welcome her to the school. As Liesel time with Hans continues she learns how to read and the joy of books. Liesel has to copy with the Nazi book burning parades where she has to stand by everything against her.

Liesel manages to save a book and Hans agrees to help her hide the book making it their own secret. The Hubermann’s are also keeping their own secret when stranger Max (Schnetzer) turns up on their door step, this leads to Liesel being ordered to keep a secret but her interest in the books keeps her curiosity high. When we learn that Max is in a fact a Jew in hiding, he begins a friendship with Liesel while she learns that she isn’t the only lover of books. Liesel also learns how she will need to grow up through the wartime where so many children have to suffer.

The Book Thief is a very powerful story about one girl’s struggle through the war, abandoned by her mother she has to learn to grow up in a new family, new town under a belief she doesn’t want to follow. We watch how she learns about books, learns how to read and learns that even through such a hard time she can trust people. We also see the harsh reality of the war where we will lose people. The idea the story is told by death is very clever because the narration gives away what will happen but spares us the details and almost makes it touching how he takes the souls. This is an adaptation so I don’t personally know how well it compares to the books but as a film itself it is a good story to watch unfold. (7/10)


Actor Review


Sophie Nelisse: Liesel Meminger young girl who gets sent to live with another family during the war where she learns she has a love of books during the wartime struggle. Sophie gives a great performance for an actress of her age, watch out for the name in the future. (8/10)


Geoffrey Rush: Hans Hubermann father of the adopted family who is much more laid back than his wife, but his promises could put the whole family at danger. Geoffrey gives a good performance and one we all know he is very capable off. (7/10)


Emily Watson: Rosa Hubermann mother of the adopted family who is very strict but equally has a heart of gold as she just wants to protect her family. Emily gives a good performance too and much like Rush we know we can trust her in these sort of roles. (7/10)


Ben Schnetzer: Max a Jewish man in hiding in the Hubermann house hold after his father saved Han’s life. He befriends Liesel and they both have their own way to hate Hitler and his men together. Ben gives a good performance and makes for an engaging character. (7/10)


Support Cast: The Book Thief supporting cast is filled with the other town’s people who are all trying to keep their heads down and the soldiers trying to fight a war they have no control over.


Director Review: Brian Percival – Brian does a good job directing this powerful drama. (7/10)


Drama: The Book Thief shows the relationship between people during the wartime and how they struggled to keep things safe. (9/10)

War: The Book Thief tells of the struggle through the eyes of one of the innocent children who would have been caught up in the middle of it all. (9/10)

Settings: The Book Thief creates authentic settings to put us right in the middle of World War II. (10/10)

Suggestion: The Book Thief is one to try, if you have read the book I honestly can’t tell you if it is a good adaptations but it is an enjoyable film to watch. (Try It)


Best Part: Christmas.

Worst Part: Final Moments.


Believability: Even though the story is made up, the situation the people find themselves in would have been real. (7/10)

Chances of Tears: You may have some by the end. (5/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for best music written for motion picture.

Box Office: $76 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

Tagline: Courage beyond words.


Overall: Beautiful Drama

Rating 75