I teach 7th grade literacy and we read the novel by Rodman Philbrick, Freak the Mighty. So every year, after we finish the book, we watch the movie from 1998 based on the book, The Mighty.
This week, I watched it five times.
Once for each class. So I figured I may as well add it to the Doc’s Classics Movies Reviewed section and take a break from the October Fear Fest.
I very much enjoy the film. Some kids asked me about having to watch it with each class and I told them that there were enough scenes that I enjoyed that helped me get through.
Truthfully, a lot of this movie is cheesy. It is nowhere near as good as the book, but the movie has one big thing going for it and that is a tremendous cast of actors. Henry Dean Stanton and Gena Rowlands are the grandparents and they bring the goods in their scenes together. One in particular really highlighted their skills as actors.
The Mighty tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Max (Elden Hensen, who I found out just now also plays Foggy Nelson in Netflix’s Daredevil. MIND BLOWN!!!), and Kevin (Kieran Culkin). Kevin has a disease that affects his ability to walk and grow properly and Max, the big and strong son of a convicted murderer, carries Kevin around on his shoulders as they go on adventures, “slaying dragons and saving damsels.”
Both boys do a great job in The Mighty. Any time a movie has kids as its main leads takes a huge chance. If those kids do not work, the film does not work. Fortunately, Max and Kevin work very well.
The cast also has James Gandolfini as Max’s father Kenny Kane, Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) as Loretta Lee, and Meat Loaf as Iggy Lee. All of these actors get a chance to shine and show exactly what they can do.
Then, Sharon Stone plays Gwen Dillon, Kevin’s doting mother who is dealing with the struggles of raising a child with a debilitating disease. Sharon Stone is effervescent here and brought so much humanity to the Fair Gwen.
There were several scenes that were cheesy (most of which were added to the film and not included in the book), but none of the scenes stretched credibility enough to take me out of the film. And there is some real emotion shown in the film, without feeling as if they are trying to manipulate the audience.