I took my 8 year old (going on 45/worldy-wise in the art of how films try to manipulate and usually fail/hard to please) son to this film with both of us rather un-hopeful and pretty put off by the cutesy title. Mid-way through I finally dragged my attention away from the screen to give him a quick glance as I'd begun to wonder if the film was a bit grown up for him - quite a lot of talking with very understated special effects and subtle soundtrack etc - a film requiring ATTENTION - the opposite of kids media with all bells and whistles. He was sitting at the front of his seat and completely absorbed in the film. He stayed like that until the last line of the credits and then we walked out silently. Mid way across the car park I finally asked him whether he'd enjoyed the film. A long pause later he announced in awed tone that it was the best film he'd ever seen.
Sometimes you see a film that has 'something' you can't really put your finger on that makes it just great. This was like that. It was an intelligent film, that just happened to be about two children who (thank God) weren't given the diabetes inducing treatment too common in American movies. All the characters were interesting and credible, the photography was gorgeous, the direction excellent, the music carefully used and totally in keeping with the mood, the script fine and the plot both simple and intriguing. There was great attention to detail, and lots of subtlety rather that clobbering you over the head with clues about what would happen next or how to feel next. I don't know how it's been marketed but I wouldn't call this a children's film. It's just a great film which you'd be happy to watch with your children. Personally I was so absorbed that apart from that quick glance, I had no idea what my son was making of it, and was chuffed when I realised he'd been as bowled over as I was. (We took his Dad that weekend - he loved it too).
This is not a crash bang wallop film. It is something else. It was beautiful.