Little Man Tate (1991)

PG   |    |  Drama

Little Man Tate (1991) Poster

Fred Tate is a prodigy. He's also a lonely, little boy with the emotional needs that his single mom covers. Worries about world problems gives him ulcer. He takes a quantum physics summer college class at 7.




  • Jodie Foster and Adam Hann-Byrd in Little Man Tate (1991)
  • Adam Hann-Byrd in Little Man Tate (1991)
  • Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate (1991)
  • Harry Connick Jr. and Adam Hann-Byrd in Little Man Tate (1991)
  • Harry Connick Jr. and Adam Hann-Byrd in Little Man Tate (1991)
  • Jodie Foster and Dianne Wiest in Little Man Tate (1991)

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12 June 2010 | Lejink
| Little man, big world...
I had to smile at the legend before the end titles - "A Jodie Foster Film" - one movie and she's an auteur! Nevertheless, this is an accomplished well acted, "little" film looking at the gift-cum-curse of being a gifted child in a largely misunderstanding world.

To be fair, the movie looks little more than a better-than-average TV movie, but is elevated by its director's star turn in front of the cameras, plus some neat little (that word again!) directorial flourishes, like a slow cutaway into the distance of Foster's workaday waitress Dee Tate's mother/son dance with young son Fred and at other points interesting suffusions of light and animation to perhaps demonstrate the surging thought process of the precocious infant.

The narrative gets a little skewered as Fred is adopted by a wealthy philanthropist female, childless naturally, whose feelings quickly move from professorial to matrimonial and a too obvious conflict with Foster's more down-home mother love. Some of the situations are a little too pat also, for instance the way that Fred cleaves to older boys, one a maths prodigy himself, the other a piano-playing college boy (played by a young Harry Connick Junior), the lad obviously groping emotionally for a male bonding relationship with his natural father nowhere around.

Freak occurrences too like Connick's initial encounter with Fred (symbolically dropping the whole world on his shoulders!) and a side-lined Foster's rescue of a drowning child just as Fred's making an appearance at the professor's side on national TV also jar credulity a little and of course sentimentality rears its largely unwelcome head before the happy ending, but I'm perhaps being too severe on what is when all is said and done, a warm, family entertainment on an off-beat subject.

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