TIFF Kids ’18: Next Door Spy

Next Door Spy is this generation’s Harriet the Spy.  At least, that’s what it’s aspiring to be.  Unfortunately, this competently animated Danish film isn’t ready to play.

Young Agathe-Christine imagines herself shaking down crooks in a black-and-white noir.  It’s a fantasy that allows her to escape the worries of her own life.  Her investigation senses are heightened when her family moves and she meets a skater named Vincent – one of those “strong, silent type” boys.  She sets her sights on Vincent due to a rising suspicion she has about him, while she also meets new people in her neighbourhood.

Next Door Spy is a mellow movie, which may be a good thing for parents looking for a tame flick for their kids. But since this snoozy film moves at such a baggy pace, it doesn’t supply the audience with anything worth getting excited about.  Even the slight tangents featuring Agathe-Christine getting lost in her own imagination are missing an enthusiastic appeal.

Daydreaming and adventures should never feel pedestrian in a children’s movie, but director Karla von Bengtson – in a drab feature debut – seems to disagree.

Next Door Spy screens at Toronto’s TIFF Kids International Film Festival on Thursday, March 15 at 4:00 pm and Sunday, March 18 at 10:45 am at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Click here for more details!


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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