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Laramie Movie Scope:
Simon Birch

Faith, hope and charity in a very small package

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 20, 1998 -- "Simon Birch," is one of those rare films, like last year's "The Apostle," that occasionally includes the word God in its dialogue without it always being a part of a curse.

The title character, played very well by the diminutive Ian Michael Smith, is a boy born very small. He was not expected to live. He has faith that the miracle of his life has reason, that he is God's instrument and he will be a hero.

Instead, he unwittingly becomes the instrument of death, killing the one person he loves most in life. His faith is tested to the limit. He seeks help from adults, but they lack his faith. Instead, he must become the teacher and show everyone what faith is.

Birch's best friend is Joe Wentworth (Joseph Mazzello), who really carries the film as much as Smith does. He and Simon become friends because both are outcasts in their small New England town. The film also stars Ashley Judd ("Kiss the Girls") as Joe's mother and Oliver Platt ("Flatliners") as her boyfriend and David Strathairn as Rev. Russell. Jim Carrey also has a small role in the film.

All the actors do a great job in this film, especially the two young boys. The film does have some very funny lines and gags in it, but basically it is a tear-jerker. It really got to me. It made me laugh at first and then cry. It is manipulative, but also very entertaining and moving. It rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)