It’s rare these days that I make it out of my house for a movie. It’s even more rare that I have the luck to watch something in the cinema with someone.
On Friday night I found myself wonderfully blessed, not only with a husband who was more than happy to take our son for the evening, but with the company of a friend who is irreplaceable in my eyes.
However, her film of choice was a little out of my wheelhouse.
For the majority of my adult life I’ve turned away from most popular films, either because the story/characters weren’t compelling to me, or because I had some personal vendetta against the studio in charge of the film. Even more so the Addams Family movies hold a sacred space in my heart. It wasn’t just their macabre charm and dark wit that spurred my fascination—it was their devotion to each other and the celebration of who they were as a family that I found so spellbinding.
Seeing a reimagining of two films that were basically a soft reboot of a T.V. show from the mid 1960s seemed like a sure road to me pulling my hair out before the end of the night, especially since I am familiar with the original materials. Also, The Addams Family 2019 is aimed at a younger audience than the films from my era, which I was sure meant the culling of the grotesque and eccentric humor that wowed me so much as a kid.
But, with the lure of an amazing friend and a break from thinking about the painful week I had endured, I went along… and found myself pleasantly surprised.
Sure, it’s a little strange to see some of my most beloved characters as cartoonishly exaggerated versions of themselves, but a great deal of their individual charm was still there—even when underplayed.
The chemistry between the family is vibrant and believable, as well as their reactions to pressures of a difficult world closing in. It’s easy to see how much each one of them loves each other, even when the struggles of rebellious youth and narrow mindedness threaten to pull them apart. (I was very fond of Wednesday and Pugsly’s relationship, which felt more fleshed out here than anywhere else.)
As a new mother and wife, it was easy for me to identify with Morticia, who I found was more relatable in this than previous incarnations.
Her motivations were understandable, her reactions justifiable, and her love for her family was powerful. I was pleased to see that her romance with Gomez was just as dark and beautiful as in the original, however the amount of screentime they had alone together was tragically short—but that might be my nostalgia clouding the snappy pace of a movie meant for wee ones.
Beyond that, the villain was cliché and the overarching theme of the story was a bit too “on the nose” for my taste, but I can appreciate what they’re trying to say: that diversity is something to celebrate, not fear, and tradition is only as worthwhile as its honor of an individual as exactly that—a person with different strengths and talents. Though ultimately both these conclusions are reached too quickly, and after a rather shocking climax with very little payoff.
I was disappointed that while an entire cast of people were introduced as antithesis to the Addams family, we spent very little time fleshing them out or exploring their lives in a meaningful way. I would’ve enjoyed seeing the groundwork laid out for some commonalities between our heroes and villains, especially because it would reinforce the moral the writers were looking for.
Despite those small flaws the movie was delightful and funny.
The darker humor that I loved still saturated the film, even in its quieter moments. I enjoyed the nods to horror movies peppered throughout, some more obscure than others. More than a few times I found myself laughing or excitedly pointing out a reference that I got.
Here the strength of an animated world shines as the darker parts of the originals are played more comedically. Seeing a cartoon version of Pugsly and Wednesday attempting to murder each other is not as jarring as seeing two actors in the same scenario, lessening the tension of the scene. Animation also opens the door for a more wild and vivid setting, as well as the more humorous and exciting gags and antics that are prevalent throughout the film.
While keeping to its PG rating, The Addams Family 2019 was very faithful to the original, yet still held its own as a unique incarnation of the source material. Each character felt like a well done representation of their predecessor, with some minor flaws here and there.
For example: Fester. The character didn’t hold the evil genius of his counterpart and seemed more…dimwitted, for lack of a better word. However Pugsly was given a personality and story that focused on his role in the family, something that was severely lacking in the original movies. I adored him whenever he was on screen.
All in all I would say it’s a good film with a sweet story. It’s something I would be more than happy to show my son, though the message of the movie falls a little flat for me. It’s great if you want to laugh and enjoy something simple but tasteful, which in this case was exactly what I needed.
But I have something more important to say than this review.
It’s a thank you, to the very kind and very precious owner of this blog. Although I am a guest here, I wanted to make sure I took the time to thank her for spending time with me. Though we see each other few and far between, her childlike wonder and positivity always mean the world to me. So many times she’s been that small beam of sunshine that slips through the cracks on my darkest days.
Thank you for taking me out, laughing with me, and putting up with all my eccentricities, hardship, and pain. I get to enjoy the world with you, if only for a moment, and those are some of the brightest moments of my life.
Have a happy October, everyone!
Report Card: The Addams Family (2019)
Overall Score: B