The Gnomist | SLJ DVD Review

redstarThe Gnomist. 17 min. Dist. by Great Big Story. Thegnomistfilm.com. Greatbigstory.com. 2015. Free streaming.The Gnomist. Dist. by Great Big Story.

Gr 4 Up –Along a forest path in Overland Park, KS, colorful, miniature doors began mysteriously appearing in the hollows of trees, inviting the curiosity of passersby. Peeking inside the fairy homes, enchanted visitors find twig furniture, moving boxes, and even tiny jars of candy, creating the illusion that occupants live amid the trees. Here, in Firefly Forest, visitors young and old believe in fairies and magic, but for those individuals in need of solace, the mysterious fairy doors offer comfort and compassion. Directed by Sharon Liese, this whimsical yet moving documentary short introduces several individuals whose lives have been touched by the “gnome homes”: Robyn and her teen sons Parker and Tyler, who have recently moved to Kansas and are dealing with an unexpected divorce; Alex, an injured athlete who blogs about the wonders in the forest; and Kelly, a grieving mother on the path to healing following the death of her young daughter. Liese weaves their personal stories into the fabric of the film, providing it with an emotional punch. While the subjects’ stories may be tragic, the film does not dwell on this but instead highlights how small acts of joy have helped in the recovery process. Although the identity of “the Gnomist” is eventually revealed, the revelation does not diminish the sense of wonder that the fairy homes—and the film—inspires. VERDICT Powerful yet simple storytelling, gorgeous scenery, and an emotional connection to the subjects make this award-winning documentary a must for filmgoers of all ages. Highly recommended.–Audrey Sumser, Kent State University at Tuscarawas, New Philadelphia, OH

This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2016 issue.

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