A magical journey through Andersen's writings includes The Little Mermaid," The Snow Queen," Princess and the Pea," The Ugly Duckling," The Nightingale" and more. 2001/color/140 min/NR/fullscreen.
One of the great figures of world literature, Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is renowned for his children's tales, yet comparatively little is known of his extraordinary rise from poverty to preeminence. Hallmark Entertainment presents the story behind the storyteller, one as full of pathos as Andersen himself. In his film debut, Kieran Bew is remarkable as Andersen, an impoverished child who, at age 15, runs away to Copenhagen. Destitute, he's befriended by a wealthy benefactor, Jonas Collin (James Fox), who offers him shelter, education, and, ultimately, an audience with a publisher. As the biography unfolds, so does Andersen's brilliant imagination. The film deftly weaves snippets of his fairy tales ("The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid") into the real-life scenes of a man whose rise to fame is tangled with the strains of success and a tendency to believe his own fiction. An inventive script and strong ensemble cast make this a cinematic standout. (Ages 8 and older) --Lynn Gibson