Simon Birch tells the story of Joe and Simon's heart-warming journey of friendship. Simon Birch was born with a condition that makes him much smaller than all the other kids in town. Now, due to his condition, Simon thinks God made him this way for a reason and highly believes in God. Together, Joe and Simon go on a journey of trust and friendship to find the answers to many things. Their friendship is put to the test when some unfortunate events happen. Written by
John Irving: the writer makes an uncredited appearance as Mr. Prescott, the butcher, seen sweeping the sidewalk in front of his shop during the scene when Simon and Joe are sitting on the local pharmacy steps eating ice cream and pondering who Joe's father might be. See more »
In the second baseball scene, Joe is sitting on the bench next to one character with the number 8 and Simon, who is on Joe's other side is also number 8. Two players on the same team would not be the same number. See more »
I don't think God's plan includes breaking and entering.
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A film of many charming features, indeed, but what struck me as the most impressive quality of it, was its delicate balance between comedy and tragedy. Strolling ahead on a tight rope, with abyss on either side - that of despair and that of burlesque - and never falling. It even succeeds in a most daring balance between pity and parody.
Portraying a boy with such a severe physical handicap, and with terrible parents at that, would normally tie any director's hands and feet, and the result would be sweet, at best. In this film, though, we are even allowed to smile at the odd clashes between the normal and that which is not, and laugh at the situation comedy evolving. The result is endearing, truly compassionate.
And the acting is tremendous, especially from Joseph Mazzello and Ian Michael Smith, the two boys in a very odd couple friendship. Mazzello is breathtaking in scenes of such emotional complexity that most actors would be wise to find an easy way out. I have no idea how he does it, but certainly it is by talent - no schooling gives that kind of tools.
The plot is overly complex, with several 'deus ex machina' events uncalled for, et cetera - probably in fear that the skilled balance of the film and the nerve of the acting would not suffice. But they do, and then some.
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