‘The Willoughbys’ on Netflix: Film Review

“If you’re interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.

In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things happen in the middle.”So opens the first volume of Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” As practically any young reader will attest, such an admonition is no deterrent at all, but more of an enticement to forge on in a book that amplifies for comic effect the tropes of “old-fashioned” children’s stories — of the sort that Charles Dickens once wrote, about orphans and adversity, poverty and porridge.Lois Lowry’s “The Willoughbys” was hatched in this same ruthful tradition.

The children are neglected, the circumstances are miserable and there is much eating of oatmeal, which, as far as the four Willoughby children are concerned, is only a slight

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