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The Man Without a Face
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The Man Without a Face More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: Specific_17 from United States
25 December 2005

I watched the film as a child; however,watching it now brought on a complete transition of opinion. During my life I have struggled to overcome a part of my past. One of which, that was abusive and difficult to overcome. When I was in High school I found the comfort of someone who loved me as I was never loved before.This person was my educator. She brought me closer to God, the love of a true friendship, and the strength to bring meaning to my life. While watching your film, I thought of her and all she means to me. We have been friends for a long time, I had the pleasure of spending Christmas with her this year. I consider her and her family to be my true family. Not to say I do not love my parents, but that is just how things are. Your character in the film was so powerful and dramatic in presentation. To think of such a person who could take all the meaning of love and friendship and express it in a film is very difficult. I am truly amazed at the meaning grasped within the film. I appreciate such a film to the highest extent. I was left in complete "ahh" and tears. I am amazed on how many people actually do not think so deeply as I and feel deeper than with their eyes. I believe that your film allows those who cannot feel with their heart to do so, even if it is only until the film ends. That kind of love and feeling is precious in every way. I feel there is no love stronger then that which exists in a true friendship. Thank you for bringing that feeling to life.

Sincere regards,

Appreciative viewer

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This is Mel Gibson's best film both as an actor and as a director

Author: chaunce58
20 October 2002

This is Mel Gibson's best film both as an actor and as a director. The story is wonderfully told by an outstanding cast working with a tight script. This movie may be a disappoint for those who read the book and were expecting a different storyline but, judged as a work in its own rite, it is an excellent movie.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful and moving

Author: losman42 from Oxford, England
23 May 2002

I only watched this film the first time because I'm a Mel Gibson fan, but I soon realised I enjoyed it for many other reasons than that alone. Gibson does not put himself centre screen instead focusing on Nick Stahl, who is beautifully cast as Chuck. The two interact well and make the film. The scenery is beautiful and none of the supporting actors disappoint. It may be a film touched with sadness that can have you shouting against the injustice of it all, but somehow, when you get to the end you feel good. Definitely not a waste of an hour or two.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: Stephen Hitchings from Sydney, Australia
13 October 2000

This is one of the most under-rated movies of the past decade. Some reviewers have called it cowardly and lacking in moral qualities! I think these people are criticizing the movie for failing to agree with their own beliefs. Cowardly to avoid the path of political correctness and go where no movie has ever gone before? Cowardly to state truths that no one else dares to mention?

I have had personal experience of the power of bureaucracies to break up pure and beautiful relationships, causing untold suffering, very much in the way depicted here. This is a story which needed to be told.

Lacking in moral qualities? The whole movie is a moral statement about so many things. About the way in which people are misunderstood, about the need for stable family relationships, about the need for and the possibility of genuine friendship, but primarily about the degeneration of a society to the extent that it can no longer even understand how a man and a boy can share a strong and wholly innocent friendship. This is not to say that the movie is preachy; it is in fact one of the most powerful, sensitive, best acted and thoroughly credible depictions I have ever seen of a slowly maturing relationship and the development of a selfish character into something much greater.

I have not read the book, but from what I have read about it, I think the movie must be much greater. I have seen it several times but have still not exhausted its richness.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest films from 1993

Author: bts1984 from Portugal
25 November 2010

This film is underrated, but being underrated can be a good thing because it might mean that behind the low rating hides a movie that isn't given the deserved credit. Here's a prime example of that.

'The Man Without a Face' is a funny, human, sensitive, touching and harsh movie. It is a lesson of life and it deals a lot with life's problems and serious stuff. Besides, there is also a lot of comedy, which is a surprise for such a serious film. But the combination of these different elements is effective.

Mel Gibson is someone I tend to find overrated, as an actor and as a director. But with 'The Man Without a Face' he made a great movie and proved that after all he is worth something as a director and as an actor, thanks to his great acting as Justin McLeod.

Nick Stahl is brilliant as Chuck Norstadt. I love his acting, he really convinces in whatever he does in this movie, he's truly that expressive. Chuck is so funny: his hilarious lines, his strong personality, his devilish sense of humor and the extremely goofy facial expressions he does when he is completely "in the moon". He is also very inquisitive, determined and stubborn, It's also funny that, although he is 14 years old, his face is very childish, making him look much younger than he is. However, Chuck is also a troubled and enraged boy. I can't blame him: with a father like he had, a mother like that and an older half-sister like that, no wonder he is a little crazy. Only his younger half-sister is decent.

The film can also count with the help of a nice soundtrack (with soft instrumental music and a great oldie song - "Born a Woman" by Sandy Posey), as well as the simple fact that it takes place in Maine - which means it has beautiful vistas, all natural. It is also worth for the old cars and those acquaintanceships in family and with neighbors and friends.

Like I said before, this movie is a lesson of life. You can actually learn a lot from it. It's interesting what is possible to learn from it.

Title in Portugal: 'Um Homem Sem Rosto'.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Heart-feeling , Heartbreaking, An Artistic Masterpiece of Feeling!

Author: jbartelone from United States
26 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Man Without a Face is a very special film about the emotional bonds of friendships, the pains of prejudice, discrimination, and the beauty of discovering your inner self. It's about learning who you are, what you could become, and that a person's wrong perceptions about someone can shatter their dreams. But I think the moral of this landmark movie is how even though your dreams can be shattered, you learn and work as hard as you can to to archive your goals.

Mel Gibson is brilliant as the teacher who instills confidence in a young teen from a broken home. Nick Stahl gives an awe-inspiring performance in looking for a father figure and friend that he never had. His overworked mother and uncaring sisters have no support for him, so Chuck must set out to not only receive help in passing a state military entrance exam, but also to bond with a very special caring person in his life, his tutor and best friend.

The chemistry between the two actors is amazing! Nick Stahl, probably about 12 in this movie has the wit and compassion of 20 year old. Mel Gibson has a wonderful quality for starting out as a recluse to Nick and the community. He has a badly scarred face and body from an automobile accident in which a boy died. The authorities believe that his character, Justin Mcleod, molested the boy in the car and the jury convicted him. Now, after his release from prison, Mcleod is back in the neighborhood, choosing to live in seclusion but devoted to writing, poetry, creating impressionistic art statues, and paintings. The community gets word that Chuck is being tutored and now assumes the worst, that Mcleod is abusing the boy. We also learn that Chuck's own father spent time drinking and was abusive to his own family, dying in a mental institution. The movie draws you in and you will have to decide who to believe and why? Can a man overcome his shattered past to build a positive relationship with his passion for teaching art, math, writing, and Shakespeare? How will the boy's family and small town react to this? How much does Justin's physical deformity factor into his acceptance by the community?

The movie doesn't provide any easy answers to these questions. In fact, many of these questions are open to interpretation. But the heartfelt intensity, and special bond of friendship, between the actors in this movie will make you feel many emotions. It's a wonderful film!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A very sensitive, touching film....

Author: from Scarsdale, New York
16 October 2007

To have a true grasp on the theme of this film, it would help to have experienced life in that era, firsthand. Times and attitudes were indeed different back in the 50's, 60's and into the 70's. Life appeared much simpler back in those days, at least on the surface. Things were either "black or white" and apparently, in many respects, much simpler minds also prevailed regarding society's social morays and the consequences thereof.

This film is a brilliant depiction of the life, times and attitudes back in the 60's. Mel Gibson does an excellent job of bringing his characters to life. Although the main storyline concerns a fatherless boy's trials and tribulations at the prospect of trying to add semblance to his life and toward growing up, it is an accurate depiction of relationships and a tender coming-of-age story.

Though his mentor, a brilliant well-educated former master of a prestigious boarding school, possesses the experience necessary to help his student along his journey, he no longer possesses the credentials to do so.Does society possess the wisdom and compassion to allow this to happen?

Any tragedy found in this movie, and many others like it, is the tragedy borne by society in all its 'wisdom' and the petty prejudices that abound. Even though this discrimination isn't based on race, religion or ethnicity, it is based on an even more insidious concept, hearsay and innuendo. How does one defend them self against a preconceived notion and general consensus, when all one has in their defense is merely their own word? Can logic and intellect overcome fear and prejudice, or is justice truly blind?

Mel Gibson turns in a stellar performance, as does the entire supporting cast. I regard this film as one of my favorites. It is worthy of a ten out of ten rating. Watch it, but don't even attempt to rationalize, it is after all just another lesson about the absence of compassion when prejudice and discrimination prevails, and who knows, maybe it just does have a happy ending...

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Justin McLeod, the invisible man

Author: Brian T. Whitlock (GOWBTW) from WILMINGTON, NC
30 May 2007

Being reclusive is a way form the world you used to live in. In "The Man Without a Face", Mel Gibson plays Justin McLeod, a former teacher who was horrible deformed from a car accident that claimed a young man. Living away from society in New England, he is seen by a fatherless kid named Charles Norstadt(Nick Stahl), who on the other hand can't stand living with three sisters. His older half-sister Gloria(Fay Masterson), is the one he fights the most with. He's also at odds with his mother who wouldn't dream of him having to go to a military school. Onthe the other side of town, he meets Mr. McLeod, and he teaches him the different subjects. Poetry, my favorite, and also Shakespeare. There will be some tasking in order to get help, but it seems to pay off. After knowing the truth about his father, the closeness between McLeod and Chuck bonds even more. Chuck had the heart, to understand Justin's visage, even though he had a past, McLeod gave him hope to do better in life. So the meeting between the two was worth the while. Mel Gisbon put a lot of effort in this movie, and I thought it was great. A fine masterpiece this movie is, and a major keeper as well. 5 stars!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

a wonderful tale of friendship inside a small town

Author: Scanlow from United States
14 April 2007

this was a wonderful underrated tale of friendship, teacher student bond and of a fatherly figure in a fatherless boy's life. this is what school should be like. learning should be enjoyable with people who you can enjoy being with. not sitting in boring classes while teachers drone on without passion. this tale is also deep in its morals, about who we can trust and why we are always quick to point fingers and prejudice against people and why true love and friend are dying out in this world. love is not the sexual thing that we all are quick to jump to but instead it is a desire to help others at no cost of your own to help them through their struggles because you care about their future who they are as a person. this film was about that, while this is not a major picture it is an important film for people to see to remember its the heart of the person not the labels or what they look like that is important.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

one of Gibson's best

Author: bwian from bellingham, washington
30 March 2006

Mel Gibson gives one of his best performances as the disfigured ex-teacher who takes a troubled young boy (Nick Stahl) under his wing as tutor, mentor, and friend. while the idea of two outcasts, one an adult teacher and the other a young teen boy, forming a bond is not new, the story is still compelling. the suspicions surrounding Mcleod (gibson) and his past lead to new allegations. the allegations are answered when Mcleod asks Charles what he thinks about McLeod's past based on their relationship. McLeod forces Charles to think and judge based on his knowledge not on suspicion or hearsay. the final scene speaks volumes about what their relationship was and what it meant to each of them. this film ranks up there with "a separate peace" and "dead poet's society" as a teen awakening film.

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