Mia Wasikowska, riveting in the recent "Jane Eyre," steps down several rungs in this emo kids tearjerker from Gus Van Sant. She plays Annabel, a pixie dream girl who falls in love with dour, death-obsessed slacker Enoch (Henry Hopper, the son and lookalike of Dennis Hopper).

Fans of Edgar Allan Poe will surmise that she shares more than a given name with the doomed heroine of Poe's melancholy "Annabel Lee." Sure enough, she's terminally ill in that upbeat, life-affirming way of expiring movie starlets.

The script is cloying and contrived, giving Enoch a World War II kamikaze pilot (Ryo Kase) as a guardian angel. Van Sant lays on the whimsy with a trowel; Wasikowska's quirky thrift-store wardrobe and twinkling performance are enough to trigger migraines. Hopper plays his part as if under a general anesthetic. I wouldn't have minded some myself.