Nim (Abigail Breslin) is a plucky 11-year-old girl who lives with her father Jack (Gerald Butler), a marine biologist, on an isolated island in the South Pacific. They have set up a pleasant home for themselves far away from the rest of the world. Nim's closest companions are Selie the Sea Lion, Fred the Bearded Dragon, and Galileo the Pelican. She feels at home playing around the island's volcano, in the dense vegetation, on the beach, and in the ocean, even though her mother, an oceanographer, was lost at sea years ago. Although Nim is far away from any traditional school, she loves learning from the Internet and reading the bestselling novels about Alex Rover, an Indiana Jones-type swashbuckling hero. Her father enjoys these tales as well but warns her: "Courage is something we have to learn and relearn our whole lives. It is in the choices we make."
Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett direct this tale of imagination and adventure based on the acclaimed novel by Wendy Orr. Their first film was Little Manhattan, a delightful tale about first love adapted from their own screenplay. Both movies reflect a respect for and delight in young people's curiosity and enthusiasm as they deal with growing up and making their own decisions.
When Nim's father goes off in his boat to do some research on ocean algae, she stays on the island because her pet sea turtle's eggs are about to hatch. They plan to keep in touch by satellite phone. But after a violent storm one night, she can't reach him, and he doesn't return on schedule. Then Nim gets an email from Alexandra (Jodie Foster), the highly phobic author of the Alex Rover books. Introducing herself as Alex, she says she is researching island life for her next adventure. Nim is eager to help her.
Alex is a fearful woman obsessed with germs and frightened of leaving her apartment in San Francisco. But when she learns that Nim is a little girl all alone on an island and in trouble, the writer decides to come to her rescue and in a comic series of incidents risks her life to get to her.
Abigail Breslin, who was so delightful in Little Miss Sunshine, sparkles as Nim, a resilient person who learns that she has within herself the capacities to be the hero of her own story. We were very happy to see a little girl creatively and confidently deal with the challenges brought to her doorstep by wind and storm, some rowdy intruders on the beach, and fears about the loss of her father. In reaching out to connect with Nim, Alexandra opens a new chapter in her own constricted and loveless life.
Special DVD features include an adventure commentary with Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin; a commentary with directors/writers Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett; 3 featurettes: "Nim's Friends," "Abigail's Journey," and "Working on Water"; and deleted scenes.