Thanks to two astonishing performances by child actors Kieran (brother of Macaulay) Culkin and Elden Henson, this tear-jerker rises above the average to become a must-see film for children over ten, and adults, too.
Based on the Rodman Philbrick novel Freak the Mighty, the film centres on two loners: Maxwell (Henson), a larger than average and none-too-bright thirteen-year-old living with his grandparents (Harry Dean Stanton and Gena Rowlands), and the fragile, crippled, incredibly intelligent Kevin (Culkin), who moves in next door with his mother (Stone). Both outsiders, the pair strike up a friendship after Kevin is assigned to be Maxwell’s reading tutor and introduces him to the knights, swordplay and stories of Arthurian legend. Together, they fight foes both real (school bullies, Maxwell’s ex-con lowlife father) and imagined.
You’ll be able to guess the ending well before it comes, but with moving turns from Culkin, a glammed-down Stone, Anderson (surprisingly good as a tarty, brittle associate of Maxwell’s dad) and especially Henson, you’ll remain glued to your seat, man-sized hanky in hand, until the final frame. A small treat.
Is The Mighty suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
None, but this will probably make even the toughest viewer cry.
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