Wendy (2020)

Wendy poster

Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.

SHORT VERSION

The film is a take on “Peter Pan” as told through the point-of-view of Wendy.

Wendy is an adventure-seeking young girl living with her mother and twin brothers Douglas and James. One night, they board a train with young Peter, taking them to an island where there are other boys who do not age. They spend their days having adventures across the island, but there is a part of the island that causes children to age rapidly until they are frail and elderly.

Douglas goes missing one afternoon, causing James to grow more troubled. His arm starts to appear like that of an old man, so Peter cuts it off to stop the aging. This only causes James pain, and he is helped by the children who became old. Although Wendy tries to help them see the bright side, James rounds them up as pirates to kidnap the boys to catch “Mother”, the supposed spirit of the island that provides for them. Wendy runs to get Peter’s help after the boys are kidnapped, and they find Douglas alive. James rapidly ages to become a hermit-like version of Captain Hook. He kills the fish that Mother is supposed to be, only to show that nothing happens that will help them. The children, young and old, then sing to bring life back to the island. James must stay since he can no longer go home, but he plays with Peter as though they were enemies.

Wendy, Douglas, and the other boys return home where they grow old together and have many adventures. Wendy’s own daughter later goes on the train with Peter, and Wendy watches with hope.

MEDIUM VERSION

Angela Darling works as a waitress at Darling’s Diner near a railroad in the rural South, with her young children – twins James and Douglas, and youngest daughter Wendy – hanging around there. Youngster Thomas Marshall, having his birthday one day, is jokingly told by his grandmother that he and Angela’s children that they’ll be working at the diner when they grow up. Insisting that he’ll be a pirate, Thomas goes outside at the thought of having to get older and work. A train passes by, and a small figure runs on the roof and gets Thomas to climb onto the train as Wendy watches.

Years later, Wendy is nine years old and has a thirst for adventure, coming up with her own bedtime stories to read to herself, despite assisting her mother with the diner along with her brothers. One night, Angela tells them about her life, indicating that she gave up on her dreams to raise a family, making Wendy wonder whether she will have to give up her own dreams as a grown-up. After school, Wendy contemplates boarding the train, but fails to do so when she chases it.

That night, Wendy notices a boy at her window, who jumps onto the train and inspires her to follow. Waking her brothers, the kids climb out of their window and hop onto the train. They are met by the boy, rambunctious Peter, who tells them they are going on an adventure. Travelling through the night, the kids ride the train far away from home until Peter pushes them out into a river. There they encounter another kid, Cudjoe Head, in a rowboat, which takes them all to a volcanic tropical island where they find other children, including Thomas, who is still as young as he was when he ran away.

The Darlings discover that children have a connection with the island’s spirit from the volcano, called Mother by Peter, who tells Wendy that as long as they believe in Mother she will provide for them. Mother’s influence prevents the children from aging, so long as they believe in her, explaining how Thomas remained a child. Peter takes Wendy and her brothers across the island, playing with the other boys and having many adventures; as well as discovering Mother’s physical form as a large glowing fish and that singing to her revitalises her. Despite the island’s paradise, Wendy starts to worry for her mother and the fact that she will notice her kids are gone.

While the kids are sleeping, an elderly man wanders close by. When Wendy greets him, he runs off into a barren side of the island, where the other children shun him. They explain his name is Buzzo, a former member of their group who lost faith in Mother when he lost his best friend, and so aged into an old man. Whilst exploring, the children find a capsized boat called the Mañana, which the Darlings swim into. Douglas hits and cuts his head, disappearing from sight. Wendy and James get Peter and the other children to help look for him, but after searching the island they find it a lost cause. Without his twin brother, James becomes more withdrawn and dour.

Wendy discovers that James’ right hand has become aged, and although he and Wendy try to hide it, Peter soon notices it. Fearing it’ll mean he will age rapidly like Buzzo, he asks Peter to cut it off, who does so with his knife. Shocked and disgusted, Wendy takes James to the outskirts, where she finds Buzzo. He takes them to the other side of the island, where a group of “Olds”, children who lost faith in Mother, live a sullen and depressed life. Wendy’s attempts to cheer them up fail when James, bitter at having to grow up without Douglas, rallies the group to find, kill and eat Mother in order to regain their youth, using the children as bait.

Wendy runs back to warn them, but is too late when the Olds show up and kidnap the children, and repurpose the Mañana as a fishing boat. Evading the Olds, Wendy and Peter witness an older James fashioning a hook for his missing hand. Whilst hiding from the Mañana, the pair discover that Douglas is alive. They swim to the Mañana, where they find the now elderly James, who shows resentment towards Douglas for not aging as he did. The ship approaches the Mother fish, which James throws a harpoon at and severely wounds it. After Peter and Wendy rescue them, the children go underwater to help Mother, but she dies and James finds a piece of Mother losing its glow. With Peter and the children mournful and the Olds disheartened, Wendy gets them to all start singing. As their singing grows louder, Peter becomes more inspired, and the volcano erupts once more. Wendy and Douglas decide it is time for them to go home. Knowing that he cannot go home, James stays to play with Peter as his new “enemy” Captain Hook, thereby allowing him to live out the rest of his days with the spirit of a child.

In Wendy’s closing narration, we see that she, Douglas and the other children have returned home to their own families. They have many adventures together as they grow older, eventually growing apart. Many years later, Wendy is now a mother with her own daughter, telling the story of Peter and the island. At night, while Wendy sleeps, her daughter hops on the train with Peter. Wendy sees and runs after them, but she cannot catch up to them. She then decides not to pursue, as she feels her daughter is in good hands and is ready for an adventure of her own.

LONG VERSION

The film opens in the Darling Diner down south. Angela Darling (Shay Walker) works as a waitress there, with her children hanging around there. She jokingly tells them that they will be working at the diner when they are older, but little Thomas Marshall (Krzysztof Meyn) insists he wants to be a pirate. He pouts and goes outside at the thought of having to get older and work. The train passes by quickly, and a small figure appears to be running across the roof. Thomas then climbs onto the train, while Angela’s baby daughter Wendy watches.

Years later, Wendy (Devin France) is nine years old and has a thirst for adventure, coming up with her own bedtime stories to read to herself. She lives with her mom and older twin brothers Douglas and James (Gage and Gavin Naquin). The kids gather as Angela tells them about her life, indicating that she gave up on her dreams to raise a family, and making Wendy wonder whether she will have to give up her own dreams as a grownup. At night, Wendy notices the train passing.

Wendy helps out at the diner, but as she notices the train, she contemplates hopping on the train, still worrying she will regret not taking an adventure. That evening, Wendy and her brothers see the train coming by and see what looks like a boy running on top. The kids climb out their window, and Douglas and James hop on the train. Wendy misses the jump and must run after the train, but she manages to climb onboard. The kids climb to the roof and meet Peter (Yashua Mack).

The kids ride the train far away from home until Peter pushes them out into the water. They find themselves on an island with a volcano (basically Neverland). Another young boy comes up on a boat, and Peter orders him to take him and his new friends with him. They ride closer into the island where they find other lost boys, including Thomas, who is still as young as he was when he ran away.

Peter calls to the spirit of the island, whom he refers to as “Mother.” The other boys look to Peter as though he has some sort of gift. Peter tells Wendy that as long as they believe in Mother, she will provide. He takes Wendy and her brothers across the island, playing with the other boys and even swimming down into the water where they see that Mother is a large glowing fish. The kids enjoy their time there having adventures, but Wendy starts to worry for her mother and the fact that she will notice her kids are gone.

While the kids are sleeping, an elderly man wanders into their home and places a cup near Thomas’s face. Wendy calls him out, and the other boys chase the old man away. He says his name is Buzzo, and the other boys know him, but Peter doesn’t allow him near them and doesn’t acknowledge him as Buzzo. He explains that there’s a part of the island where children age rapidly until they are old and have had their life pass them by.

Wendy and her brothers go swimming, but Douglas hits his head and gets it cut. He disappears from sight, and Wendy and James can’t find him. They get Peter and the other boys to help look for him, but they think it’s a lost cause. James becomes more withdrawn without Douglas, and even Wendy cannot help him.

James’s hand starts to appear like it belongs to an older man. He and Wendy try to hide it, but Peter soon notices it. Fearing it means that James is going to start aging rapidly, he asks Peter to cut it off. Peter appears to hesitate, but then chops it off with a machete. James writhes in pain, and Wendy takes him to get help. They are found by the other aged children, who tend to James’s wound. Wendy sees that they have a lack of food or resources. They go into their diner where no food or drinks are served, so Wendy acts as her mother and pretends to serve them and play a jukebox to dance to. However, James is not satisfied and tells the others that they have to get to Mother in order to better their situation, and to do that, they must kidnap the other children. Wendy tries to stop him, but he is too far gone.

Wendy runs back to warn Peter, but the old children show up and kidnap the lost boys. Peter declares that James is his enemy, but Wendy argues that he is still her brother and that it’s Peter’s own fault that he’s angry. He argues that they didn’t believe in Mother enough. They head to save the other children and find Douglas, who is alive. They make it to the pirate ship where they find the now elderly and hermit-like James with a hook for a hand. He shows resentment towards Douglas for not aging as he did. They approach the Mother fish, and James throws a harpoon. Peter and Wendy go underwater to help Mother, but she dies. Nothing happens as the children had thought. They come to the shore, and Wendy gets them to all start singing. As their singing grows louder, Peter becomes more inspired, and the volcano from “Mother” erupts once more. Wendy and Douglas decide it is time for them to go home. Knowing James cannot go home, he instead stays playing with Peter as his new “enemy”, Captain Hook, thereby allowing him to live out the rest of his days with the spirit of a child.

In Wendy’s closing narration, we see that she and the other lost boys returned home. They would have many adventures together as they grew older, and eventually grew apart. Wendy is now a mother with her own daughter, and she is telling her the story of Peter and the island. At night, while Wendy sleeps, her daughter hops on the train with Peter. Wendy sees and runs after them, but she cannot catch up to them. She then decides not to pursue, as she feels her daughter is in good hands and is ready for an adventure of her own.

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