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Simon Birch

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Simon Birch

Starring: Ian Michael Smith, Joseph Mazzello
Director: Johnson 43338
Rated: PG
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: September 1998
Genre: Drama




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1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Walter Frith read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
4.  Mark OHara read the review ---
5.  Greg King read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

From the day he was born, Simon Birch was different. No bigger than a baby bird, doctors predicted he would never last the night. But he did. Then they said he would never last a week. But he did. Eventually, Simon grew into a little boy, fortified by the staunch belief that God had made him small for a reason, that God not only had a special plan for him but that he was going to be a hero. His story is related by a narrator, Simon's best friend as a child, now grown-up. We only see him twice - at the beginning and at the end - but it's this character, played with incredibly sensitivity by Jim Carrey (who curiously gets no screen credit) that bookends the narrative. Veteran screenwriter and now first-time director Mark Steven Johnson has created a cinematic fable, suggested by John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany." Since the story begins in a graveyard in Gravestown, Maine, by the tombstone of "Simon Birch," we know that the pivotal character died at the age of 12, so the only dramatic tension revolves around when, where, and how this tragedy occurred. The problem with the structure of the film is that it's so obviously melodramatic and manipulative. In the title role, Ian Michael Smith, who is afflicted with a rare enzyme disorder, Morquio Syndrome, compensates for his "vertical challenge" with a truly magical display of talent. And Joseph Mazzello delivers a truly remarkable performance as Simon's best friend (the young Jim Carrey) whose single mother, played by Ashley Judd, refuses to reveal the name of his father, thus providing the curious boys with an ongoing mystery. Oliver Platt and David Straithairn provide stalwart support. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Simon Birch" is a charming, poignant 7. It's a wonderful, heartwarming story.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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