As you probably know by now, Colin Trevorrow first found an audience with the beguiling and quite charming Safety Not Guaranteed, which starred Mark Duplass as an outsider who works at a grocery store and is on the verge of leaping back in time, a journey for which he is looking for a companion. The synopsis suggests science fiction, but without the big, gaudy, and usually empty gestures of invention that are supposed to substitute for character development. Safety Not Guaranteed was both imaginative and intimate, creative in conceit and unique in its humanism, even romanticism, which is why the Spielberg comparisons have always felt kinda right-on with him. Sure, Jurassic World is…Jurassic World, but purely as an entertainment, it’s certainly a better film than Spielberg’s The Lost World. Nobody bats 100.
Trevorrow’s upcoming third movie, The Book of Henry, looks to be a return to smaller scale films for the director, right before he devotes all his waking time to the ninth Star Wars film. As Variety reports, Focus revealed today that The Book of Henry will be released on a limited scale starting on September 16th, which would put it right at the beginning of Oscar-friendly season. Last year, Sicario and The Martian came out within two weeks of this date, and both films ended up at the big awards ceremonies.
Of course, this is no guarantee of a film hitting the reddest of red carpets come March next year, but it certainly signals big hopes for Focus, who have also moved Jeff Nichols‘ Loving into prime Oscar-bait territory. Little is known about Trevorrow’s film beyond the fact that it focuses on a single mother raising a genius boy, with Naomi Watts playing the mother alongside Room‘s Jacob Tremblay and Jaeden Lieberher of Midnight Special fame. But if there’s that same emotional precision and humanism here as there was in Safety Not Guaranteed, this one should be well worth sitting down with, despite the lack of dinosaurs.