Tuck Everlasting is a 2002 fantasy family romantic drama film based on the children’s book of the same title by Natalie Babbitt published in 1975. The Walt Disney Pictures release was directed by Jay Russell.
15-year-old Winnie Foster is from an upper-class family in the town of Treegap and wants to make her own choices in life. After being told that she is going to a boarding school, she runs off into the forest where she meets Jesse Tuck drinking from a spring at the foot of a great tree. She is kidnapped by his older brother Miles and brought back to the Tucks‘ home where they tell her they’ll return her as soon as they can trust her.
She becomes enamored of their slow and simple way of life and falls in love with Jesse. She learns that the Tucks cannot age or be injured due to drinking water from a magic spring around a hundred years ago and that they kidnapped her to hide the secret. They tell her that living forever is more painful than it sounds and believe that giving away the secret of the spring will lead to everyone wanting to drink from it.
A man in a yellow suit befriends the Fosters while Winnie is gone. He spies on the Tucks and he desires the spring to sell the water. He makes a deal to save Winnie and get the forest. He goes to the Tucks and orders them to reveal where the spring is; when they deny any knowledge about the spring he threatens Winnie with a pistol. He calls their bluff by shooting Jesse and exposing his youth; but in return Jesse’s mother, Mae, kills him with the rear end of a rifle. The constable sees the attack and arrests Mae for killing the man. She and Angus are sentenced to be hanged for kidnapping Winnie and murdering the man.
After being returned home, Winnie is woken by Jesse who begs her to help him free his parents. The family fears that if Mae and Angus are in fact hanged the next day, they won’t die and their immortality will be exposed. Winnie helps Jesse and Miles to break the Tucks out of jail and goodbye to them. Jesse, who has fallen in love with Winnie, asks her to join them, but Angus warns her that it is dangerous to go with them as they will be hunted. Jesse tells Winnie to drink from the spring so she could live forever and never age, then he will come back for her when everything is safe. He leaves promising to love her until the day he dies. After the Tucks depart, Winnie chooses not to drink the water. She would rather die after living a full life, than be immortal and stuck watching life pass her by.
85 years later, Jesse returns to a much changed Treegap that has modernized. He goes into the woods and at the base of the great tree he finds Winnie’s headstone marking the site of where the spring once stood. The stone reads that Winnie became a wife and mother before passing away at 100 years of age. Jesse sits at her grave, smiling through his tears and remembering her.