Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism review – mirthless and shoddy

Georgia Byng’s children’s novel Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism is well admired by many for its vivid heroine and its fresh twist on the old plucky-orphan narrative gambit. This film adaptation assembles a cracking cast, starting with the terrifyingly impressive Raffey Cassidy (the pretty android from Tomorrowland) in the title role, with assists from some illustrious thespians, including Lesley Manville as the mean orphanage director; Emily Watson as a kindly staff member; Celia Imrie as the cook; right down to Joan Collins, resplendent in a red wig and a ton of slap, as an evil criminal mastermind.

And yet, in the hands of director Christopher N Rowley and an assortment of screenwriters (including Byng), the result is a rebarbative mess – mirthless and shoddy like a disposable Christmas stocking novelty. Even my daughter, who likes anything with bright colours and pugs, thinks the above star rating is generous.

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