'Nim's Island' is a sweet adventure caper that is carried by the ever-watchable Abigail Breslin as feisty and resourceful Nim.
Nim and her scientist father Jack (Butler) lead a happy, self-sufficient existence on a secluded island in the South Pacific.
While her father studies micro-plankton, Nim bounds around the island with her menagerie of loyal pals, including a sea lion, iguana and pelican. All goes well until Jack takes to the sea for a short trip, leaving Nim to fend for herself. Of course this is when a storm unexpectedly hits the island, leaving devastation in its wake.
Nim fears the worst for Jack, stranded at sea on a small boat. In her desperation, she is forced to realise that she can't take on the problems on her own.
She turns for help to her hero Alex Rover, the author of a series of globetrotting adventure books which she reads voraciously. Little does she know that he is a fictional character dreamt up by an agoraphobic San Franciscan writer, Alexandra Rover (Foster), who couldn't be further from the heroic explorer portrayed in her books. She rarely ventures out her front door, let alone onto the high seas.
But the nervy novelist cannot resist the pleas of the helpless child, and with much difficulty, and hand sanitizer, begins her quest to save Nim. In the meantime, more trouble comes in the form of opportunistic sailors, who come upon the idyllic island and wish to turn it into a beach resort.
Butler puts in a good performance as the loving father, doubling up as brave adventurer Alex Rover in fantasy sequences. Foster, in a rare comic role, hams it up as the obsessive and highly strung writer, but her nervous ticks soon become unbearable. But it is Breslin who carries the film with her spark and inimitable likeability. A nod is also due to the director of photography, Stuart Dryburgh, for the capturing the expansive beauty of Australia's Gold Coast.
As the film draws to a close things get all too predictable, even cringey but, cynicism aside, there are more than enough fun-filled frolics to entertain the kids.