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Little Man Tate (1991)

PG | | Drama | 1 November 1991 (USA)
Dede is a sole parent trying to bring up her son Fred. When it is discovered that Fred is a genius, she is determined to ensure that Fred has all the opportunities that he needs, and that ... See full summary »

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Alex Lee ...
...
...
Matt Montini
Nathan Lee ...
Matt's Teammate
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Miss Nimvel
Danitra Vance ...
Clinic Doctor
...
...
Garth (as David Pierce)
...
Gina
Richard Fredette ...
Bartender
...
Winston F. Buckner
Jennifer Trier ...
Grierson Institute Teacher
...
John Bell ...
Joey X
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Storyline

Dede is a sole parent trying to bring up her son Fred. When it is discovered that Fred is a genius, she is determined to ensure that Fred has all the opportunities that he needs, and that he is not taken advantage of by people who forget that his extremely powerful intellect is harboured in the body and emotions of a child. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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It's not what he knows. It's what he understands.

Genres:

Drama

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PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 November 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mentes que brillan  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$25,010,896 (USA)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Scenes in Eddie's apartment and the interior of the Tates' apartment were filmed in the Roanoke Apartments in the Clifton neighborhood of Cincinnati. The building, which was more than 100 years old, was considered a classic example of mid-1800s architecture in Cincinnati. At the time of filming there was controversy over Burger King's plan to buy the building and demolish it to build a fast food restaurant. Publicity around the filming raised the public profile of the building enough that Burger King abandoned the plan. See more »

Goofs

When Jane is giving Fred that vile drink, you can see the band-aid on his head (58:38) where he got hit by the globe that Eddie would later throw (at around 32 mins). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Fred Tate: It's funny, cause I *think* I can even remember being born. For the first two weeks of my life I didn't even have a name. Dede couldn't make up her mind. She finally decided on Fred. She said that she had never heard of a little kid named Fred before.
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Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: May Divorce Be with You (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

What The World Needs Now Is Love
Lyrics by Hal David
Music by Burt Bacharach
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User Reviews

 
Engaging insight into the world of exceptionally gifted children
6 May 2006 | by (Dundee, Scotland) – See all my reviews

Through the eyes of a exceptionally gifted child of seven, 'Little Man Tate' delivers a riveting insight of the loneliness, maturity, isolation and brilliance of what it is to be highly prodigious yet very young and how imperative it is to achieve a balance when educating and raising such children.

Fred (Adam Hann-Byrd) is a very special little boy. He is able to play complicated musical pieces, pen deep and meaningful poems, calculate complex mathematical problems at an age when his classmates are still learning to tie their shoes and mastering their alphabet. He's a child old before his time, capable of thoughts far beyond the average adult's understanding, but at the core of it all, he is still just a seven-year-old who wants to fit in at school and have friends. His mother Dede, played by Jodie Foster, determines the best way to raise her beloved son is to treat him like any other child to the extent that she never really acknowledges his gifts, whereas Jane Grierson (Dianne Wiest) is on the other end of the scale as a psychologist whose speciality is gifted children. Jane takes an interest in Fred, believing his intelligence must be nurtured even if it means plonking a tot of seven into a university full of young adults.

Jodie Foster and Dianne Wiest deliver strong, solid performances as two women who both love this child and just want what is best for him, even if their approaches are very different. However, it is Adam Hann-Byrd who steals the show as the lead character of Fred. He depicts the brilliance of the character as well as his awkwardness in dealing with both 'normal' contemporaries and fellow gifted children. He is wonderful in showing how Fred is just a kid who wants to be liked, and how he desperately needs the adults around him to provide him a balance between being treated like the seven-year-old he is while allowing his towering intellect to thrive.

This film takes us into the heart of what it is to be a child prodigy and how it can be both a gift and a curse. We see Fred surpassing his adult classmates in his university course yet he struggles to interact with peers his own age who are of average intelligence. Through him, it is easy to see that being perceived as 'normal' can be the greatest gift of all. It also highlights the abysmal state of the state education system in teaching such children.

I really recommend this film as it delivers this fascinating story in a manner that is bittersweet, touching and, at times, humorous. The characters are all interesting and likable and you can't help but feel for Fred's joys and woes.


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