6.7/10
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40 user 28 critic

Little Man Tate (1991)

PG | | Drama | 1 November 1991 (USA)
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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 »

Director:

Jodie Foster

Writer:

Scott Frank
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jodie Foster ... Dede Tate
Alex Lee Alex Lee ... Fred Tate at 2
Adam Hann-Byrd ... Fred Tate
Michael Shulman ... Matt Montini
Nathan Lee Nathan Lee ... Matt's Teammate
Celia Weston ... Miss Nimvel
Danitra Vance ... Clinic Doctor
Dianne Wiest ... Jane Grierson
David Hyde Pierce ... Garth (as David Pierce)
Debi Mazar ... Gina
Richard Fredette Richard Fredette ... Bartender
George Plimpton ... Winston F. Buckner
Jennifer Trier Jennifer Trier ... Grierson Institute Teacher
P.J. Ochlan ... Damon Wells
John Bell 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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mentes que brillan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$230,106, 11 October 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$25,010,896
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jane takes Fred and several other children to an event for gifted children called "Odyssey of the Mind." Odyssey of the Mind is a real program, a creative problem-solving competition for children that has been in existence since 1978. See more »

Goofs

There are several errors in simple mathematics in the movie: Firstly, Damon "The Mathemagician" Wells correctly states that there are 25 228 800 minutes in 48 years (but 25,246,080 minutes if one counts the 12 leap-days that would occur in any span of 48 years that doesn't include a century year - only century years evenly divisible by 400, like 2000 but not 1900, are leap years), then says that this is 151 368 000 seconds. This is clearly wrong as 25 228 800 x 60 is 1 513 728 000 (more than 10 times as much). Furthermore, Fred says that the cube root of 3 796 466 is 156 although 156*156*156 is 3 796 416. 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movie Geniuses (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Brahms' Liebesliederwalzer
Musc by Johannes Brahms (as Brahms)
Performed by Ensemble Vocal Michel Piquemal with Ensemble Orchestral de Paris
Conducted by Armin Jordan
Courtesy of Erato Disques
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Engaging insight into the world of exceptionally gifted children
6 May 2006 | by cosmic_questSee 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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