Why ‘Jessie and the Elf Boy’ is this year’s must-see family film
In the new Scottish family film ‘Jessie and the Elf Boy’, a teenager becomes a successful hair stylist with the help of a magical forest elf. The film is inspired by the old legend of Ghillie Dhu, building on it in a fun and imaginative way. Teenager Jessie is disorientated by the sudden arrival of Ghillie Dhu, a peculiar boy dressed in leaves and moss who has a talent for creating wacky hairstyles. (Oh, and he’s invisible to everyone except Jessie.) But she soon realises that he can help her make a splash in the hairstyling scene, as well as finally reconnect with her distant mother.
Ghillie’s invisibility leads to a stream of comic episodes as other people unwittingly encounter him. As Jessie’s career takes off, it seems like all her dreams are coming true, but it becomes increasingly difficult to keep her elf companion a secret.
The film stars Julia Brown, an accomplished Scottish actress known for BBC shows such as ‘World on Fire’, ‘Shetland’ and ‘M.I. High’. Alongside her, in the role of Ghillie Dhu, is 11-year-old Huck Whittle, a newcomer to the screen and certainly one to watch. Jessie’s mother is played by veteran Scottish actress Gail Watson, whose screen work includes ‘Katie Morag’, ‘River City’ and ‘Annika’. The film features a host of other brilliant Scottish actors, and includes hilarious performances from Belle Jones and Eloise King Anderson.
‘Jessie and the Elf Boy’ is the latest feature film from emerging Scottish production company Fellowship Film. Their debut feature film, ‘The Gaelic King’, was a fantasy action/adventure set in 800AD Scotland, telling the story of warrior-king Alpín mac Eachdach as he fights to regain his kingdom. The film was so innovative in its approach that it received a commendation from the Scottish Parliament as a triumph of resourceful filmmaking.
Fellowship Film is based in Glasgow and run by five brothers from two Scottish families: Philip Todd, Matthew Todd, Nathan Todd, John Walkinshaw and Tom Walkinshaw. They believe in the power of positive and authentic communities in the making of bold and inspiring films.
Philip Todd, the writer, director and producer of ‘Jessie and the Elf Boy‘, describes it as “an uplifting Scottish movie for the whole family”. He says, “We filmed in the height of the pandemic, which was certainly a challenge, but we were motivated by the belief that in difficult times people need a story like this all the more – a story with laughter, friendship, magic and a big heart.”
This is a film that the whole family can enjoy together; it is all-ages-approved by Dove.org. Children will have fun watching Ghillie as he gets up to mischief and causes chaos in the chic hair salon, and parents will find Jessie’s quest to heal her relationship with her mother resonant and moving. Those who like a good drama will be satisfied by the film’s ending, which is both surprising and emotionally impactful, and of course the story will also appeal to those with an interest in Scottish legends.
‘Jessie and the Elf Boy’ is released today, 1 April 2022 in the US, Canada and the UK on all major digital platforms, including Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.