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Max (Eldon Henson) is big. He's 13 and towers above the rest of his class. But for every inch of height, he's missing courage and smarts, making him an easy target for the neighborhood bullies.
Across the tall fence in Max's backyard, lives new kid Kevin (Kieran Culkin)--with brains and nerve, and a crippled body. Along with his love for science and reading, Kevin badly wants to do the things other kids do, like play basketball. Struggling to walk with his awkward braces, his dream seems impossible--until he meets Max.
It's during a fireworks celebration that Max makes the move that will change their lives. Watching Kevin struggle to see above the crowd, the strong boy suddenly picks him up and places him high upon his shoulders. "You need a brain, I need legs, and the Wizard of Oz doesn't live in Cincinnati," exclaims Kevin to Max. The next day they go to school, the "Freak" as he's called, proudly riding the shoulders of Max, who will soon be dubbed "The Mighty."
This tremendous film warranted far more advertising than it was given. Only bringing in a pitiful 2 million at the box office, it deserves to live a long and prosperous life on the rental shelves. Positive portrayals of parents, teachers, and police abound in this wonderful story that doesn't resort to silly comics or unbelievable happy endings. A strong caution, however, is required for the sequences following the parole of Kevin's father. The suspense of these scenes may be frightening to young children, even though the confrontation is solved with help from the police and minimal violence.
If you as a parent are tired of movies featuring teens that represent everything negative in society, The Mighty will be a welcome change. Max and Kevin's hero is King Arthur, and they try to follow his code of chivalry. The world is full of mighty teens (I have met some of them) and it's about time their stories were told on the screen.
The Mighty is rated PG-13:
Cast: Eldon Henson, Kieran Culkin
Studio: 1999 Miramax Films.