Starring: Jonas Hartmann, Julia Jeker, Laurin Michael
Director: Xavier Koller
Running Time: 100 mins
Little Mountain Boy is a Swiss film about the son of a rural cheese maker who, in the lead up to one of the local town’s biggest celebrations, sees his father’s cheese taken by a merchant. Frustrated by the injustice, he attempts to bring the truth to light, but the merchant and his son’s wealth and influence make life very difficult for him.
Let’s take a trip back to the 1870s. Little Mountain Boy, with its festive, moral-oriented and innocent story, feels exactly like a children’s storybook from that era. And although that’s often been a recipe for success in the future, there’s something too innocent and old-timey about this movie, and it’s just not as pleasant or entertaining a watch as it ought to be.
That’s not to say it’s a total failure. I’m sure that, if you put this film on in front of some 3-5 year olds, then they can have a nice time watching it. Its family vibes, coupled with its festive atmosphere, make it that perfect sort of movie, but the rest of us know that the genre can be so much better than this.
Whilst it’s definitely nice to see a film that harkens back to classic stories, what with its emphasis on being fair, kind and sharing, as well as the quaint nature of its setting and characters, there’s very little depth here to really grab on to.
I know I shouldn’t really be expecting much from this sort of movie, but I felt that there could have been a lot more to give in this story. Yes, its main objective is to be a pleasant moral lesson, but for anybody over the age of 5, that’s something we’ve seen a million times before, and there’s very little else here to really make for an engrossing watch. Although you could say it has the feel of a cross between Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens, the plot here is just far too generic, and far too thin to really make you care about anything that’s going on.
What’s more is that the performances aren’t all that amazing either. The children are okay, although their characters feel like a rehash of the kids from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, but the adults don’t really do their bit to make this any better. Their performances feel like the sort of thing you’d see when you go to visit a family Winter Wonderland, and not really up to the standard of the big screen.
Of course, what you have to recognise is that this film is undoubtedly centred on providing a light, innocent and pleasant moral lesson to very young viewers. For anyone else, it’s not the most engrossing watch, and its story is just far too thin and generic to really grab you. I can’t really fault it for its cutesy nature, and I can’t say that I had an unpleasant time with this film, but I do feel that Little Mountain Boy didn’t manage to make its story as enjoyable as it could have been, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.4 overall.