‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ shows true friendship
John Gillispie shares his thoughts on “The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” which is rated PG and currently playing in theaters.
After the death of his parents, Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) comes to stay with his Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) and it doesn’t take the child long to learn, there is something very unusual about his uncle’s house.
Soon Lewis discovers is how Uncle Jonathan and his good friend, Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett,) possess magical powers. Uncle Jonathan allows Lewis to learn about magic and establishes only one rule for his nephew to follow: To never unlock a certain cabinet.
Meanwhile, Lewis thinks he has made a friend at school in Tarby (Sunny Suljic). However, once Tarby wins a student election and has the cast removed from his arm, he starts to ignore Lewis.
In an attempt to keep Tarby as his friend, Lewis opens the forbidden cabinet and practices a spell which leads to a major problem later.
As mentioned in the film’s title, a clock has been hidden within Uncle Jonathan’s house. It has been placed there by Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan), Jonathan’s former magic partner. The spell unleashed by the clock will have dire consequences for everyone if it is set into motion.
With a PG rating, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” seems aimed at children and has a few eerie
moments involving some large mechanical characters that come to life, a graveyard scene and a story about a demon. The movie offers lessons about the importance of following rules and learning to recognize true friendship.
I found the relationship among the three main characters — Lewis, Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman — to be the most interesting part of the film.
These characters are fond of one another and make a great team. I thought as I watched this film that it would be fun to see these three characters in additional adventures.
John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.