By Nicholas MA


Family - Development 2021

No one gets Callie, an awkward kid whose one friend, Mabel, is a plant -- except Ms. G, her teacher who introduces her to the controversial world of “plant intelligence.” Desperate to impress her, Callie builds a secret greenhouse in her backyard, but Callie’s obsession sets her on a collision cours

    • Year of production
    • 2021
    • Genres
    • Family, Environmental, Comedy
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Nicholas MA
    • Writer(s)
    • Nicholas MA, Joy GOODWIN
    • Producer(s)
    • Helen ESTABROOK (A Thousand Ships), Ben HOWE (AgX)
    • Synopsis

    • CATALYST SynopsisMabelCallie’s only friends are the plants and trees that surround her home. So when her dad's job moves the family to a sterile subdivision, Callie is utterly isolated--except for her best friend, a potted plant named Mabel. Callie doesn't treat Mabel like a stuffed animal, or even like a pet. To Callie, Mabel is a peer: a fellow being who, like Callie, is overlooked and unseen, but still very much alive.But Callie's parents are deeply worried about her preference for plants over people. What if she doesn't grow out of this? She struggles in her new middle school, where she sticks out as the plant nerd, and the only half-Asian girl in this overwhelmingly white community. Angela, her mother, is at a loss, torn between defending her daughter from the town’s critics and insisting she learn to connect with other people, even if it’s just her younger neighbor, Agnes. But Callie won’t—or can’t—and instead poursherself into planting a backyard garden.Then Callie stumbles upon the school's charismatic science teacher, Ms. G. Ms. G is the mentor Callie's been waiting for. She introduces Callie to "plant intelligence" --the controversial theory that plants experience the world, make decisions, and even learn in ways more similar to us than scientists previously believed. Desperate to draw closer to and impress the one person who “gets” her, Callie concocts excuses to go and visit Ms. G's lab at the local university. At home, Callie secretly buys plants on her parents' credit card. Even Agnes has a role, assisting with Callie's elaborate botany experiments.Callie's obsession with these experiments stretches her relationship with her parents to a breaking point.Finally Callie finishes the experiment that she feels sure will prove her brilliance. She rushes to school to tell Ms. G--only to discover that her teacher has abruptly left town.Callie's drastic reaction to Ms. G's departure threatens to destroy everything else in her life--her dad's job, her budding friendship with Agnes, even her garden. Yet even as her life comes crashing down around her and her parents find themselves powerless to help, Callie's research into plants leads her to a surprising revelation about friendship and co-existence. Is Callie too late to save her first human friendship?MABEL is a classic coming-of-age story driven by a new protagonist: a half-Asian 12-year-old girl in a well-intentioned but tone-deaf American college town. It's a town that doesn't know how to deal with a girl with a different kind of obsession--not chasing boys or fitting in, but immersing herself in the inner lives of plants.But MABEL is also a film that telescopes out to show a whole ecosystem, contrasting plants and the myriad of ways in which they cooperate, with humans, who struggle simply to co-exist.