The Earthling (1980)

PG   |    |  Adventure, Drama


The Earthling (1980) Poster

Patrick Foley has been on the move all his life. Tired of drifting, he wants to spend his last days in an isolated Australian valley where he grew up. On his difficult journey he meets ... See full summary »

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7.1/10
1,257

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  • William Holden and Ricky Schroder in The Earthling (1980)
  • William Holden and Ricky Schroder in The Earthling (1980)
  • William Holden and Ricky Schroder in The Earthling (1980)
  • William Holden and Ricky Schroder in The Earthling (1980)
  • William Holden and Ricky Schroder in The Earthling (1980)
  • William Holden and Ricky Schroder in The Earthling (1980)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


5 February 2000 | Moxie
10
| Wise and moving (NOT cute); a film to treasure
"Cute" he may have been, but Rick(y) Schroder -- before puberty -- was one of filmdom's most sensitive and skillful child performers. And William Holden, far from being one to "add to" a list of modern man-and-boy bonding stories, in this 1980 film virtually founded the category.

I've seen this excellent film three times -- always on late-nite TV. Leonard Maltin gives it two-and-a-half stars: "OK family drama." Yet, over half of its IMDB viewers rated it a 10. Why on earth hasn't it received wider public acclaim??!

At 62 (this was his next-to-last film), Holden looks like he really is terminally ill. The cockles of his heart never are warmed to the kid (that we can see, anyway).

He's bone-weary, making his painful way to the ruins of his long-deserted family home to die, But this squalling, spoiled, self-centered kid is stranded. The man would like to ignore him, but the boy's obvious vulnerability won't let him. And as his strength fails, he could use some help himself.

So they make their way, conjointly, to his dying-place. And on the way, he tries to teach the boy how to survive in the wilderness -- for the child will soon be utterly alone -- and reach civilization.

How and what he teaches him is fascinating -- both practical and subtle. He plunges the city-bred boy from pampered narcissism to basic verities and respect for life and Life. In turn, the child's unevadable need forces this bitter, used-up man to dredge up his humanity and, with his last energy, give it out; to do the right thing.

Both of them change and grow. And it's quietly beautiful. In a sense, this is a coming-of-age film with no age boundaries. Maybe it's a "coming-into-humanity" film. See it. And grasp again (or for the first time) the dignity and beauty that humanness can be.

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