This is a film I remember well from my childhood. I loved the exciting, little fantasy world of ‘The Borrowers’ when I was young, and when my daughter heard a sound coming from my boiler cupboard, I found the perfect opportunity to pass on the fun. Probably best not to tell her about the rat problem anyway. Luckily, she didn’t find the idea of tiny people hiding in daddy’s walls too strange, and we settled down for a lovely afternoon.
When you’re not around, maybe you’re at work or fast asleep, out come the star attraction – miniscule people who live under your floorboards – taking the things you don’t really need and putting it to good use. They’re not thieves though, they’re merely borrowing, of course. The aptly named Lender family unwittingly provide shelter for the Clock clan, but when the evil Ocious P. Potter (John Goodman) tricks the family into giving up their home, the borrowers are put in great danger. The Clock family, along with the help of human bean Pete Lender, Officer Steady (Hugh Laurie) Exterminator Jeff (Mark Williams) and rogue borrower Spud, must stop Potter and reveal the truth to save their home.
‘The Borrowers’ boasts a top drawer cast, all of whom provide excellent, humorous performances. John Goodman is perfect as the cunning, cruel Ocious P. Potter. Thankfully, this bad guy isn’t as competent as he would like to think, delivering moments of slapstick comedy expertly. Mark Williams and Hugh Laurie offer great comedic value in their respective roles; Williams as the simpleton from pest control and Laurie as the dry, sarcastic officer of the law. A competent cast is backed up by stars such as Jim Broadbent, Celia Imrie and a young Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), as well as a fantastic cameo from one Ruby Wax.
One thing I did forget about ‘The Borrowers’ is just how much of an entertaining, endearing and uplifting film it is; it really is a film for the whole family, children and adults alike. My daughter sat quietly enthralled all the way through, she loved the concept, the characters, the comedy and of course the happy ending. That doesn’t count as a spoiler right? We all knew the kids movie was going to end with a victory for the good guy. Even the tense moments, where it all looks like it might go wrong, were followed up by a borrower-sized triumph to put a smile on her face again.
Apparently, ‘The Borrowers’ is now my daughter’s favourite film ever – better than ‘Home’ and even better than the formidable ‘Frozen’ – high praise indeed. Whether it be a cheap DVD buy, or you manage to find ‘The Borrowers’ on the television one Saturday afternoon (stranger things have happened), you have to get this film on for the kids. I guarantee you will find yourself enjoying a bit of 90s magic too.
DIRECTOR: PETER HEWITT
STARRING: JIM BROADBENT, JOHN GOODMAN, HUGH LAURIE, MARK WILLIAMS