The Mighty

on October 09, 1998 by Lisa Osborne
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   "The Mighty," based on the novel "Freak the Mighty" by Rodman Philbrick, is a touching tale about the bond that forms between two boys who don't fit in. Maxwell (Elden Henson) is very big for his age and although he's a good, kind kid, he lacks courage and he's not too bright. Basically, he's a lonely 13-year-old living with his grandparents (Gena Rowlands and Harry Dean Stanton). But when Kevin Dillon (Kieran Culkin) and his mother (Sharon Stone) move in next door, everything changes. Suffering from a congenital disease and strapped into leg braces, Kevin is the antithesis of Maxwell. He's an intellectual giant trapped inside a small, fragile body. A plucky, precocious child, Kevin can't resist a wise-crack, even when the timing's bad. When Maxwell is assigned Kevin as his reading tutor, he's introduced to Arthurian legend. Inspired by the knights in the book, the boys invent a fantasy world in which honor is everything. Together, Maxwell and Kevin set out to battle their foes, both real and imagined.
   In a less glamorous role than the norm for Sharon Stone, the actress makes a convincing mom for Kevin. But the show really belongs to Elden Henson, who blossoms as his new friendship grows and he finds inner strength that he never knew he possessed. His performance is terrific. While Kieran Culkin's slightly overzealous performance and smart-aleck attitude gets irritating after awhile, "The Mighty" is nevertheless a lovely family movie, but be warned: it's a tear jerker. Starring Kieran Culkin, Sharon Stone, Elden Henson, Gena Rowlands and Harry Dean Stanton. Directed by Peter Chelsom. Written by Charles Leavitt. Produced by Jane Startz and Simon Fields. A Miramax release Adventure. Rated PG-13 for elements of violence and peril. Running time: 100 min
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