This adaptation of Elizabeth Goudge’s much-loved 1946 novel ‘The Little White Horse’ (JK Rowling’s girlhood favourite, no less) has all the ingredients of a classic children’s story. There’s a lonely orphan dispatched to a big house in the country after her father’s demise. There’s Moonacre manor itself, with its secret passages, spooky woodlands and a mysterious spectral white horse galloping in the fields. And there’s a mystery to be solved, as clues in an illustrated manuscript tell of an ancient curse on the land… a curse only a ‘Moon Princess’ can lift.
What with Ioan Gruffudd glowering as the surly uncle, a steady supply of new dresses and a touch of tween romance, it’s all expertly tailored for slightly bookish little girls, with ‘Golden Compass’ star Dakota Blue Richards an agreeably unprissy lead. Unfortunately, the fate of Moonacre Valley is a slightly academic issue, so we never care as much as we should. Nicely put together, but just a little dull.