16 September 2004 | nicholas.rhodes
I must confess to a partiality for this type of film and did enjoy this one. However, I found it too much on the negative side and with a too low feelgood factor. I thought that David's "performance" was excellent and extremely realistic ( I am assuming the actor concerned is not autistic in real life ) but I thought that David's mother, as personnified by Kirstie Alley, went a bit over the top. Of course, the situation is difficult to live but one cannot even detect a glimmer of hope in Alley's attitude towards John who was an extremely kind and understanding man and willing to tackle the problem of David. All the mother can do is tell him to get lost ! - it's pushing the negative dramatic element too far in the direction of pessimism. Of course it must be very difficult to bring up a child like David, but one would have thought that John's presence would change things for the better. One saw this very briefly with David learning to operate the VCR but the optimism stops there.
It's all well and good trying to be acutely realistic and doubtless this film corresponds perfectly to real live situations which have been lived. But I think that Cinema is there to make us dream, albeit only a little in some cases, and the viewer needs some "positive elements" to enable him/her to feel good about watching the film. After all, it IS a film and not a real-life documentary.
Basically, one is left with a bitter aftertaste in one's mouth because of Kirstie Alley's boorish, offhand and uncompromising attitude with all those around her. One would have expected this attitude of course to dominate initially but to gradually disappear as the story unfolds throughout the film. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case and whilst there is a minimum of gratitude on the part of Alley towards the John element, one feels that deep down she has not really changed that much and intends to continue as before. Big deal !
So, all in all, good acting ( beautiful actors, John is very handsome and Kirstie Alley, when properly dressed up is pretty sexy ( for me, at least !! ), but an overly negative storyline which could have been improved upon without going too much in the other direction !