Help me recall a movie that was couched in an unrelated fantasical setting.
July 29, 2007 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Please help me recall a movie I don't remember. It was a movie set in a fantasy whose plot had little to do with the setting, making it stand out in my mind, but that I can't for the life of me recall what movie it was.

This is an incredibly vague description, so please bear with me. Suffice to say, I can remember a conversation I had with a friend discussing a movie that had a fantastical setting of some sort (perhaps even a sci-fi setting), but that, unlike most movies with of that sort, the setting was entirely incidental to the plot, which I believe was a coming of age tale.

Particularly, my friend and I were struck by the way that the setting really had nothing to do with the central plot, and that while we had expected the fantasy aspect of the movie to be played up, it ended up being entirely trivial, and maybe even just allegorical. The part of the conversation that stands out in my head was me saying "But it wasn't about [the fantastical setting], it was about [character's coming of age tale]."

I can't for the life of me recall what movie it was, though, and my friend doesn't even recall the conversation. This has been driving me nuts for a few weeks now, though, with no late-night epiphanies as to what movie it was, and since I can only recall generals and no specifics, googling is impossible. If my vague description sounds familiar to you, please help me out.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Pan's Labyrinth is similar to what I'm thinking of, where the fantastical scenes were really just secondary to the plot of war-torn Spain and the girl's family issues. That's not the movie I was thinking of, though.

(To make this more impossible, I'm only 90% sure it was a movie and not a book or something, and only 75% sure that it was a coming-of-age story and not a romance of something. Yikes.)
posted by internet!Hannah to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe Bridge to Terabithia?
posted by Malor at 2:00 PM on July 29, 2007

Steven Spielberg's A.I. has been playing on T.V. lately. There's a ton of stuff in that movie that it's not at all about. In a weird way, I suppose you could say it's a coming of age story, too, in that it is partly about the tragic loss of innocence. Or at least about tragic.

Some people would think it a bad movie on those grounds, but nooooooooooooo. It's Spielberg!
posted by paulsc at 2:06 PM on July 29, 2007

I have a feeling there are a bunch of movies fitting this description. I'm going to go for The NeverEnding Story.
posted by teleskiving at 2:15 PM on July 29, 2007

Google for variations on Magic Realism and film might help.
posted by Leon at 2:40 PM on July 29, 2007

The Princess Bride? Naaaaaah!
posted by Jofus at 2:43 PM on July 29, 2007

You'd probably have more luck trying to remember which friend it was that you were discussing this with, and asking her/him.
posted by koeselitz at 3:05 PM on July 29, 2007

This is too, too vague. Can you remember anything? Was there a pegasus or a robot? Was it romantic or scary? Anything?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:38 PM on July 29, 2007

Any idea about how long ago this was? Legend?
posted by hypersloth at 3:52 PM on July 29, 2007


Any of these?
posted by salvia at 4:03 PM on July 29, 2007

Can you tell us details about the actors or set design? Anything about the probable time frame for the film's release? Even telling us when and where you or your friend saw it (e.g., "I saw it on cable in the early 1990s, but it was an old movie then.") might narrow it down.
posted by Elsa at 4:13 PM on July 29, 2007

I'm with Malor; sounds like Bridge to Terabithia.
posted by obloquy at 4:43 PM on July 29, 2007

I want to second Bridge to Terabithia because the trailers for that movie really made it seem like a LOTR or Narnia-type fantasy movie. However, that's only like 10-15% of the movie, the rest of which is a typical learning-to-grow-up-and-deal-with-loss type film. I saw it on a plane and remember feeling really mislead by the trailers.
posted by thewittyname at 4:43 PM on July 29, 2007

Star Wars?
Time Bandits?
posted by Tixylix at 4:55 PM on July 29, 2007

Your description is so vague (you're not even sure it was a movie you're trying to recall) that I wonder if it even matters one way or the other what movie (or book, or play, or radio drama, or back of a cereal box) it really was.

Just pick one of the above suggestions and watch that.

Further, your friend doesn't even recall the conversation, so...

Off topic, but have you experienced deja vu recently? It happens when they change something...
posted by wfrgms at 5:06 PM on July 29, 2007

AI? It was about robots, but really about a little boy who wanted his momny.
posted by jrossi4r at 5:40 PM on July 29, 2007

posted by kisch mokusch at 5:57 PM on July 29, 2007

i thought of the Neverending Story as well....
posted by jacksides at 6:12 PM on July 29, 2007

Sorry, I'm not being clear. This movie was one that had a fantastical setting that didn't even matter to the plot. As in, you could have done away completely with the fantasy aspects of the plot and still had the movie. AI, for example, needs the sci-fi setting to even exist. No sci-fi, no artificially intelligent boy. This was a movie that could have just been set in modern-day, normal America, but wasn't.

And wfrgms, I swear it was a real movie. I've been having this just-out-of-mind's-reach sensation for weeks now whenever I try to recall it. The only reason I say it might be a book is because my inability to recall anything has me second guessing everything I do recall.

And I'm pretty sure I saw it in the past year or two, in theater, if that helps. I've gone through my movie stubs to no avail, though.
posted by internet!Hannah at 7:27 PM on July 29, 2007

Was it The Devil's Backbone?
posted by Elsa at 7:59 PM on July 29, 2007

I can't imagine what it is but maybe this will help...
posted by nanojath at 8:04 PM on July 29, 2007

Was it something like Amelie or Northfork or Moulin Rouge, which are set in kind of magic-realist or heightened versions of the real world, but where the fantastical elements are more background, creating a "feel" and not strictly necessary to the plot? Those are sort of similar to Pan's Labyrinth in that way.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:19 PM on July 29, 2007

A couple of other movies that struck me as being maybe somewhere near the neighborhood -- probably a bit of a reach, but mentioning them in case they're what you're thinking of -- The Science of Sleep; Signs.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:48 PM on July 29, 2007

it's all about love? quite possibly the worst film ive ever seen.
posted by dnc at 3:52 AM on July 30, 2007

So are you saying that it's a Walter Mitty-type story, akin to The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Heavenly Creatures or <a href=""
posted by blueshammer at 7:56 AM on July 30, 2007

So are you saying that it's a Walter Mitty-type story, akin to The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Heavenly Creatures or The Fantastic World of DC Collins? In fact, I'll place a bet on Altar Boys, as I found the movie to be largely forgettable, thereby explaining your dilemma.

Alternatively, I suppose it could just be The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
posted by blueshammer at 7:58 AM on July 30, 2007

You say the conversation was bothering you for a few weeks, but about how long ago do you think you actually saw the movie? Even if it were only a few years ago it would rule out more recent films.
posted by Green With You at 8:47 AM on July 30, 2007

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