You may not recognise the names of all the cast members, but you'll know them when you see them and they all deliver excellent performances, precisely what you'd expect.
The story is set in 1944 and 1809-1811 and Tolly, a young boy who's father is missing in Europe in 1944, finds he has the ability to see ghosts. Specifically, he can see the ghosts of children in 1809, ancestors of his. Slowly the story of 1809 is told with Tolly being able to time-travel to help the good people against his nasty ancestor and his wicked servant. You don't really need to know the plot, just looking at the cast members tells you you're watching a period drama with a happy ending (sort of) and the baddies don't win in the end.
True, the cast members play to typecasting, but that's exactly what this children's story needs. You have to know who are the best people, who might be good and who is really horrible. As such, the emotions are perfectly portrayed, there are no surprises and you can focus on the storyline as it unfolds. This helps tremendously as the story unfolds. Tolly begins to slip seamlessly between 1944 and 1809, so following the story is made infinitely easier knowing the actors portraying the main characters. You won't be trying to work out which time period you're watching, who is who, who did what, and how can all this be happening 'simultaneously'. With perfect casting and great acting, the story is clearly told, involving and engrossing.
The ending isn't entirely happy, which lifts this film above the sentimental norm, and there are enough 'odd' moments to add unease to the atmosphere of the film.
If you're looking for a family film with a perfectly pitched British tone, look no further, this film is as good as it gets.