‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’ Criticized For Lack Of Diversity

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, one of the latest fantasy adventure movies to be released, has received great reviews from audiences. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the film that was released in more than 3,500 cinemas in North America and 9,000 cinemas across 59 countries, has grossed an opening weekend collection of $28.5 million and $36.5 million at the US and international box offices respectively.

The movie is based on Ransom Rigg’s book of the same name and tells the story of Jacob Portman, a boy who discovers Miss Peregrine’s fantastic school after he’s struck by personal tragedy. Jacob uses a portal to reach the school where he meets Miss Peregrine, the school’s headmistress, where he reveals that he shares his grandfather’s ability to see and track evil creatures called hollowgasts.

At the children’s home, Jacob discovers that Miss Peregrine’s children have extraordinary magical capabilities and even the headmistress has the supernatural ability to create time loops. In fact, ABC reports that Miss Peregrine has been known to turn back time at the end of the day so the peculiar children can re-enjoy the happy moments of the day while facing the prospect of being attacked by evil creatures.

The movie’s plot revolves around the struggle between the good Miss Peregrine and the evil wights and hollowgasts who are out to kill the peculiar children. The character of Jacob is played by actor Asa Butterfield, while Miss Peregrine is played by the French actress, Eva Green. The movie also features Judi Dench in the role of Miss Avocet, the headmistress of another peculiar school, with Samuel L. Jackson as the evil head of the wights.

Hardcore movie lovers may be tempted to compare this film with the X-Men films because it depicts the struggle between mutants and non-mutants, however X-Men is more of a science fiction film series while Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has a gothic touch to it, thanks to the direction of Tim Burton, the famous American director. Tim Burton has previously directed other gothic films such as Sleepy Hollow, Dark Shadows, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Tim Burton has been highly praised for turning Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children into a spectacular piece of Gothic cinema. The film’s success has enabled Burton to resurrect himself as a fantastic director, because his recent works like Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie, and Big Eyes, haven’t been as successful at the box office.

Tim Burton had earlier received recognition for weaving beautiful Gothic fairytales when he directed commercially successful films like Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland, and Batman. The director’s latest movie, based on the popular Ransom Riggs’s novel, may well be considered one of his more unique films because it only features one African American actor in the entire cast, with Samuel L. Jackson being the only African-American playing a prominent role in the film.

Despite gaining recognition as a pioneering director, Tim Burton has been criticized for not having a diverse cast in the movie; however, the director expressed his desire to excel in cinematic storytelling, rather than being nitpicky about casting issues. According to Bustle, Samuel L. Jackson has backed Tim Burton by commenting that it would be wrong to blame the director for a lack of diversity in his films, because it’s the film’s story that influences the casting decision.

“I had to go back in my head and go, how many black characters have been in Tim Burton movies? And I may have been the first. I don’t think it’s any fault of his or his method of storytelling.”

[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]