Digging To China

on September 11, 1998 by Pat Kramer
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This bittersweet drama, the directorial debut of Timothy Hutton, stars Kevin Bacon as Ricky, a man afflicted by Down's Syndrome and thrown by fate into the lonely life of 10-year old named Harriet (Evan Rachel Wood). Ignored by her alcoholic mother (Cathy Moriarty) and resentful older sister (Mary Stuart Masterson), Harriet wastes no time in befriending the reticent Ricky. The two soon form a deep bond as they run away from a world that doesn't value their contributions.
   Wood engages the camera in whatever she does, seemingly without effort. But while Bacon convincingly portrays the child-like Ricky, his efforts sometimes seem limited and monotonous; furthermore, Moriarty's performance is largely uninspired, and Masterson's character is too limited in scope. Nevertheless, "Digging to China" (which refers to one of Harriet's many misguided adventures) is a fresh and honest look at the beauty of innocence, the pain of loneliness in childhood and the remarkable way in which children create ways to cope with their struggles by reaching out to others. Starring Kevin Bacon, Evan Rachel Wood, Cathy Moriarty and Mary Stuart Masterson. Written by Karen Janszen. Directed by Timothy Hutton. Produced by John Davis, Marilyn Vance, Alan Mruvka and J. Scott Harris. A Legacy release. Rated PG for thematic elements and some emotional moments. Running time: 98 min.
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