Borrowers [1992]

The popular children's books by Mary Norton have been filmed before, but never with as much imagination and ingenuity as you'll find on display in this delightful fantasy film released to critical praise in 1998. The "Borrowers" of the title are a family of tiny people who live in the walls and under the floorboards in the homes of "normal-sized" humans; they earn their by "borrowing" the household items (string, food crumbs, buttons, etc.) needed to furnish their tiny hiding places and provide their meals. The little Clock family lives happily undisturbed in the home of an aged aunt, but when the aunt dies and her will is stolen by an unscrupulous lawyer (John Goodman), the Clocks face eviction and the frightening hazards of the outside world. Under the ingenious direction of Peter Hewitt, this simple, straightforward movie mixes comedy, adventure, and suspense with some of the cleverest special effects you've ever seen, taking full advantage of effects technologies to immerse you in the world of the tiny people. A climactic chase scene in a milk-bottling plant is a visual tour de force, and the movie's smart and dazzling enough to entertain parents and children alike. After its modest success in theaters, The Borrowers stands a good chance of becoming a home-video favorite. --Jeff Shannon

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