The Man Without a Face (1993) Poster

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10/10
Brilliant coming of age tale
Juni78ukr31 July 2004
I didn't know anything about this movie before I have watched it because it was never released in my own country, as well as book was never published. I am not a big fan of Mel Gibson, I thought that he is just average but too overrated actor. So you can understand why I didn't expect too much from this movie. But now, I want to apologize to Mr. Gibson. In this overlooked masterpiece he proves himself incredibly good both as an actor also as a director. The story was absolutely great, realistic and touching. Relations between two main characters – former teacher and young student boy (perfectly played by Mel Gibson and Nick Stahl) were shown as great as it possible. It was for sure best Mel Gibson performance ever. Young Nick Stahl acting also looked incredibly good as Chuck Norstadt. All supporting casts also did a very good job in their roles Director and whole cast team brought to us incredibly powerful atmosphere of total misunderstanding in Chuck family and in the whole town. People can't understand and worst of all they don't want to understand other people, who are not like all ordinary people in their small town. If you're not like all – you're odd and nothing more. This movie teach us never judge people only by appearance and groundless suspicions, teach us always look inside the people. It was very strong, powerful and important messages. All dialogs were very well written and very memorable. In addition to this cinematography and soundtrack were very good.

So, I consider The Man Without a Face as a stunning excellent film, best Mel Gibson film, one the best of the year and one of the best movies I've ever seen. If you're a Mel Gibson fan or simply love films with excellent story and perfect acting I highly recommend this film. Thanks a lot Mel and all people involved in this masterpiece.

My grade 10 out of 10 or A+++

Thanks for reading and sorry for my bad English. Feel free for mailing me about any of my posts and comments here.
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8/10
For those with an open mind...
glentom127 September 2003
A disfigured face as a result of a tragic accident, and unresolved suspicions, result in a life of hermitage for Justin McLeod. His past life as a teacher becomes reawakened by 13 year old Charles, who is on a mission to become educated well enough to pass a military school's entrance exam, and he pleads with McLeod to become his tutor.

McLeod's dark past and Charles' unrelenting motivation become unlikely allies as the two of them begin a relationship born of the common thread that each are misunderstood by others.

This is an outstanding movie, which is much misunderstood by many viewers and reviewers alike. It's a simple case of an adult taking an interest in and making a difference in a young man's life. The movie is even more poignant because McLeod loses the safety of the anonymity he had worked so hard for, when he opens his mind and heart to young Charles.

I have read all of the reviews on this site for this movie and object to those who attempt to review both the movie and the book at the same time. The movie should be reviewed here, and the book at a site for reviewing books. To do both at one time is akin to going to Burger King and ordering a Big Mac.

You don't need to be a Mel Gibson fan to love this movie, but you do need to have an open mind and an unfettered agenda. This is a powerful performance by actors Mel Gibson and Nick Stahl, one that will leave your heart happy and your mind engaged.

Both thumbs up from me for this movie.
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10/10
Great film about true friendship
Andreas_N30 April 2002
This movie is in my eyes an outstanding example of what films should be like. Nick Stahl and Mel Gibson show their immense ability to act in such a convincing way that this movie can be quoted as the movie with the most impressive story of true, honest and deep friendship. Nowadays, films are often judged concerning the special effects and the action, and classic movies slowly diminish. This film is unique because of the simple fact that the number of movies dealing with a topic like that, a topic that requires the knowledge of classic acting, unfortunately goes down.

Nick Stahl, whom I haven't known before, and who is allegedly in the cast of Terminator 3, acts impressive and convincing. It doesn't happen often, but I was moved to tears, for the true friendship between Norstadt and his teacher gives the audience the message that real friendship, the belief in the future and your own self-confidence can help you to solve every problem.

Congratulations to Mel Gibson and Nick Stahl, movies like this one, carrying such a pure message of life, preserve the issue of classic films: Move the audience, give them something to think about..... and let them feel the magic of films like this one. Watch this movie, and you'll know how to define friendship. Greetings from Austria to all imdb.com users!!
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heartwarming and awe-inspiring
MichaelOates17 May 2004
Mel is back and better than ever in "The Man Without A Face." This is Mel's finest film to date as an actor and director. Not only is it touching and heartwarming but it showcases one of the best actor turned directors in Mel Gibson. "The Man Without A Face" would be my choice for one of the most touching films I've ever seen.

Gibson certainly knew what he was doing as performed along side a newcomer named Nick Stahl. I can't tell people enough positive things about this newcomer who possesses rare natural talent.

Gibson played his character Justin McCleod the way actors should portray the characters.......with heart. I can't think of a film that showed the world the reality behind people in Justin's situation. Gibson crafted the story very carefully and it shows.

Mel Gibson is an actor with heart and has brought it to big screen as McCleod. I would venture to guess that this role is not that far off than his real-life role as husband and father.

When I saw this film, I didn't have to do much but sit back, eat popcorn and drink my soft drink. I knew it was going to be a moving, touching and heartfelt film.

However, it turned out to be much more. I was pleasantly surprised how Gibson crafted this film into a work of art by using his knowledge of working in front of the camera.

I knew by the end of this film everyone involved with this awesome film from the talented director/actor to the up and coming star along with the viewing audience had fun making and watching "The Man Without A Face."

I recommend this film to anyone and everyone young and old who loves movies.
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10/10
The Man Without a Face
ar8730 June 2002
A beautiful, touching, heartwarming story about a boy living in a dysfunctional family with his mother and two sisters, all of whom posess above average intelligence, and consider him to be the "retard" of the family. His only dream is to join the military academy, mostly to get away from his family. He meets a disfigured man (Mel Gibson), the local "freak" of the town. After learning that the man used to be a teacher, he asks for tutoring. In time, not only does the man become the boy's tutor, he becomes his best friend.

10/10
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8/10
Well-told human drama
JamesHitchcock6 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I should perhaps point out that my comments below are based solely upon the film. Unlike a lot of reviewers, I have not read the original novel by Isabelle Holland- indeed, I had never previously heard of either the book or its author.

Mel Gibson's first film as director is set during one summer in the late sixties. Charles Norstadt, a twelve-year-old boy, is on holiday with his mother and two half-sisters on an island off the coast of Maine. He has ambitions to attend the same military academy as his late father, who he believes was a war hero, but receives no encouragement from his mother, Catherine, who regards military schools as "fascist" and is firmly convinced that her son is too stupid to pass the entrance examination.

Charles makes the acquaintance of Justin McLeod, a painter living in a large house on the island. Because of his reclusive nature, and because his face has been horribly disfigured in an accident, McLeod is treated with a mixture of fear and mockery by his neighbours, particularly the local children. Charles, however, discovers that McLeod was at one time a teacher, and asks him to tutor him for the entrance exam. The gruff, taciturn McLeod is at first reluctant, but he gradually warms to the boy, and a close friendship grows up between them. Charles comes to see him as a father-figure, especially after he makes the unwelcome discovery that his own father was not a war hero but an alcoholic who abandoned his family and later committed suicide.

Gibson initially wanted to cast another actor as McLeod, but was eventually persuaded to play the role himself. I think that that was the right decision; I have not seen all his films as an actor, but of the ones I have seen I think that he gave his best performances in this one and in Zeffirelli's "Hamlet". McLeod is a complex character who is more than an innocent victim. He is also haunted by feelings of guilt arising out of the car accident in which he was injured and his passenger, one of his pupils, was killed. It is these guilt feelings which have led to his becoming a recluse and to his refusing to have plastic surgery to correct his disfigurement. His mentoring of Charles can be seen as an attempt to make amends for his past. The young Nick Stahl is also very good as Charles.

Gibson has the reputation of being one of Hollywood's more conservative figures, and there are conservative aspects to "The Man without a Face". Although the film is set during the Vietnam War, a time when all things military were regarded with deep suspicion by a large section of American public opinion, Charles' ambition to attend a military academy is presented as a laudable one. The politically liberal Catherine is too wrapped up in her own emotional needs to consider those of her children. She has been married several times (her three children all have different fathers) and many of Charles' emotional problems stem from his unstable family background and the lack of a father-figure in his life. The title "The Man without a Face" can refer to the disfigured McLeod, but it can also refer to Charles' father who is "without a face" in the sense that his son has no mental image of him.

In another respect, however, the film can be seen as having a liberal theme, although not in the narrowly political meaning of that word. The local people's distrust of McLeod does not derive solely from his disfigured appearance. He is also rumoured to be a paedophile, and his friendship with Charles is therefore seen by many, including the local police chief, as deeply suspicious. I note that one reviewer actually concludes that McLeod is a paedophile and that another thinks that the film would be more interesting if he were to be portrayed as one. I think both these viewpoints are wrong. It seems quite clear from the film that the relationship between McLeod and Charles is platonic and non-sexual. If it were otherwise McLeod would be a detestable character rather than a pitiable one, and the film's key theme- that of not judging people, particularly those who are in some way different, on the basis of suspicion, rumour and unfounded accusations- would be fatally undermined.

Of Gibson's four films as a director I think that "The Man without a Face" is, together with the very different "The Passion of the Christ", the best. It is a well-told human drama, a sensitive exploration of the teacher-pupil relationship and of the corrosive effects of suspicion and prejudice. It is certainly better than the overblown and overrated "Braveheart" for which he won an Oscar. 8/10
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8/10
Fine Coming Of Age Debut From Gibson
CitizenCaine13 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Mel Gibson's directorial debut is a fine coming of age film, but it's also much more than that. Nick Stahl, in his debut film, plays a boy named Chuck in a family that is somewhat dysfunctional. Chuck wants to leave to go to military boarding school and follow in his father's footsteps. The problem is he failed in his first attempt to get in, and now he resorts to being tutored by Gibson's disfigured character, who has a questionable past. Along the way, he learns lessons about friendship, knowledge, life, and truth. Newcomer Stahl is fine as the young man, who learns to question the majority and find out things for himself. Gibson is terrifically understated as the renaissance man forced to live in isolation after tragic circumstances. Their scarred backgrounds are what draws them together. The film takes a while to get going, but once it does, we are drawn into a special relationship between Stahl and Gibson. Gibson is a little obvious at times with the Shakespeare references from The Merchant Of Venice, but they do not prevent the film from being ingratiating. Stahl's mother (Margaret Whitton) and sisters (Fay Masterson and Gaby Hoffman), who are all good, have little to do in the film, and the townsfolk are a bit one dimensional. The film is also somewhat predictable as it progresses. Despite these criticisms, the film's message is not lost on us, and it remains a very entertaining coming of age film. This is a very good debut film from Mel Gibson as director. *** of 4 stars.
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10/10
Opinion
Specific_1725 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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10/10
Highly underrated masterpiece.
Wynne805 August 2000
I agree with those who say that this is one of the very few instances where a movie is actually much better than the book. Some would say that it is 'cowardly' to make the main character more sympathetic. I, however, call the screenwriter bold for having taken such a strong direction away from the author's apparent original intention, and furthermore to pull it off so well.

Not only is the script exceptional, not only is the directing exceptional, but the casting is perfect and the acting is right on the mark in every scene and every respect. This is well-balanced and appealing entertainment. A poignant and moving film which will make any open-minded person examine their own looks-based prejudices. I think the film does Isabelle Holland's story more justice than did the work of her own hands. I also find the character of Justin more fleshed out in the movie, with the performance of Mel Gibson, whose face is only half-seen throughout. He does a better job with half his face than your average actor today could do with a hundred faces.
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Facing Life's Problems.
tfrizzell29 June 2005
A badly disfigured former teacher (Mel Gibson) instructs a youngster (Nick Stahl) who is trying to make the grades to get into boarding school. Gibson's past is mysterious though and Stahl's family history is far from sweet and rosy as well. Difficult drama that has been misunderstood and under-rated ever since its premiere in 1993. Gibson's first directing venture does admittedly have more heart than brains, but he works wonders with what could have been a manipulative and predictable story. Of course this work behind the camera would lead to recent classics "Braveheart" and "The Passion of the Christ". Heartwrenching and emotionally-charged winner that will pull at you and never completely let go. 4 stars out of 5.
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8/10
Justin McLeod wants to slip the surly bonds of earth and young Chuck wants to get into Military School but he'll need Justin's help
psmoviemaven31 January 2002
Young Chuck wants more than anything to get into Military School but he will need tutoring to make the grade. His only hope is reclusive Justin McLeod, a former teacher. Justin is a reclusive figure of ridicule in this small town because of his disfigured face and other hushed implications. This mark on his face was from an automobile accident ten years before in which a boy was incinerated and for which he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. When Chuck looks for Justin's help and they become friends, the town's people become suspicious and hostile. I found it to be a good coming-of-age story; however I have to admit I did not get to read the novel - something I prefer to do. So I can not speak to the success of keeping the film in line with the original story. I found it to stand on its own.
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8/10
one of Gibson's best
bwian30 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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10/10
Great movie for kids to learn from, or great movie for adults to appreciate.
Unclegerald28 April 2006
With he demands of family and work, I usually don't have time to watch movies. With an 8 and 4 year old, and another on the way, we usually end up watching children's movies, light comedies, or Sci-fi, but I accidentally picked this movie, and I wish my boys were old enough to watch this.

Inspirational! Reflects on "To Kill a Mockingbird" – a movie I didn't fully understand until I was much older. This Gibson movie tactfully demonstrates the struggles boys must face and grow through in a complicated real world, without reducing to typical stereotypes, particularly feminist stereotypes of boys who promote the myth that boys are born privileged and lead privileged lives.

The story line may be a little too sophisticated, but showing them that it's normal for boys to have questions, frustrations, etc… is good for them to see because the movie goes on to show that this "energy" can be productively directed, that boys must take responsibility for the things that they want and the things that they do, but most of all, that they have to learn to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions, and not rely on what other people say or tell them to think. Great movies for entertainment are easy to find, but trying to find movies with Hyman…– morals - learning lessons – is hard to find. Great movie for kids to learn from, or great movie for adults to appreciate.
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The Man Without a Face
Coxer9916 August 1999
Gibson makes a spectacular directorial debut in this story of a relationship between a teacher, a man disfigured from a car accident and a fire and his young and troubled pupil. Both characters learn from each other the values of freedom and true friendship. Impressive performance from Gibson, as the teacher.
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9/10
excellent film
ginmoses24 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Loved this movie. One of the few that exalts the finer and nobler human emotions. Gibson outdid himself and proved yet again his versatility and range in acting. I must say, I am puzzled, however. How can any of the posters to the boards for this film have any doubt about whether McLeod molested Charles or not? That was the whole point! When Charles runs to see McLeod for the last time and McLeod forces him to answer the question concerning McLeod's previous possible molestation of another boy, the dialog answers the question for us unequivocally. If you don't get it then you are not paying attention. Open your eyes and your heart and your mind and let this film touch you.
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8/10
Turns the theme of 'the beauty within' on it's head. (spoilers for the book and movie)
vertigo_1411 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
'The Man Without a Face' is a story about a boy, Chuck Norstadt (played perfectly by a young Nick Stahl), who seems to be the odd man out in his family. He is consistently at odds with his mother (Margaret Whitton), sadistic older sister, Gloria (Fay Masterson), his mother's numerous dull stepfathers ('The Hairball' is played by Richard Mauser), and sometimes, his youngest sister, Megan (Gabby Hoffman).

You get a perfect sense of these inhibited relationships with his family during the opening sequence with Chuck describing his dream. He seems to be misunderstood, especially when he is constantly reminded that he is the "family dummy." He just wants out. And boarding school is his opportunity.

Chuck desperately needs to figure out a way to bone up on his academics and pass an entrance exam, which he knows he can't do on his own. That's when he meets Mr. McCleod, the town recluse. Badly burned from a car accident and carrying a dark secret, he has become the topic of much gossip. He is essentially, the Quasimodo of their sparsley populated summer village, and the people like to cruely entertain themselves with suspicions of "Hamburger Head" McCleod.

Lucky for Chuck, McCleod was a former teacher who reluctantly agrees to tutor Chuck, and the boy has to stick with it as much as he fears McCleod and hates his teaching methods--McCleod is pretty authoritarian at first. But, over time, McCleod becomes Chuck's closest, if not only friend (the other kids on the cove don't really seem to be friends in that sense). He becomes a great tutor for Chuck, as well as a surrogate paternal figure, and a source of much needed emotional guidance for Chuck. He comes to look past the disfiguring scars of Justin McCleod and see him for the person he really is. McCleod, too, learns from Chuck. In the book, author Holland, defines this as his 'golden cocoon,' the unfettered place where Chuck and McCleod share a bond and it seems like nothing can go wrong.

But something does go wrong. In the movie, the towns suspicions tear apart the friendship, as McCleod's secret is revealed and it seems like Chuck can't convince anyone how foolish and impulsive they're being, which is likewise destructive to someone as fragile as Chuck. It seems to him like whenever he has something good, someone always wants to take it away from him. It is a remarkably good movie about trying to get past the ignorance that prevents people from really getting to know one another, and such ignorance is usually dangerously destructive. And in this movie, we get one of the worst case scenarios.

'The Man Without a Face' is both a wonderful novel and movie, although the movie turns the theme on it's head when they (screenwriter Malcom MacRury and director Mel Gibson) choose to rewrite the misunderstood McCleod as a heterosexual, and make several reiterations of his sexuality, while the text version of Justin McCleod was that he was a homosexual man, and even the student came to learn and accept his own sexual orientation towards the end. The entire theme of the movie was about disregarding the town gossip and really getting to know someone for who they are. So why change that trait about the character? It seems so damn contradictory.

The movie does more to illustrate a story about how willfull ignorance guides people's perceptions. The book is much more about Chuck's need for familial affection and guidance for confronting those things in life which he is most afraid of--something that is prevalent in the movie as well, but not as much as the former. I can only guess that it was essential to write McCleod as a person who was mistakenly gay and suspected of molesting a student, in order to create a conclusion to a story that would reemphasize how people believe what they want to when they hate something (or someone) they don't know about.

I don't see why author Isabelle Holland, who narrates the tale of Chuck Norstadt, would get flack for her story as it is not one about pedophilia. A young boy is struggling to stop repressing things about himself that he finds difficult to deal with. One of those is sexual orientation, which he finally realizes in the end and can honestly say that, McCleod's teachings must have been effective, since he was no longer ashamed of himself. But so what if the person who taught him to no longer be ashamed of himself was gay? Chuck didn't learn to accept himself because his teacher was gay, but rather because of the advice of his teacher not to run away from his problems. The accusation that the story is pure pedophilia is ridiculous.

With the exception of the central characters and the general story, the movie and book are quite different from one another because it was necessary to expressing themes which are slightly different from one another. The novel is more about one person coming to terms with himself. The movie was more a statement about people in general. But both are very good, engaging stories, nonetheless.

Mel Gibson and Nick Stahl both give great performances in this coming of age tale. The movie has often been overlooked, especially when reviewing Mel Gibson's career. I'd consider it one of his best.
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10/10
«Aut disce aut discede»
Atreyu_II25 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I chose this day date to write my review about this movie because it's its 14th anniversary: it came out on 25th August 1993. I decided to open an exception this time and write a review about a movie on its anniversary. I selected "The Man Without a Face".

Well, let me just start by saying that this is a pretty good and interesting film. The best thing Mel Gibson has ever done, that's for sure. Not only he is part of the cast, he also directed it.

The story takes place in the Summer of 1968 and is rather simple, but at the same time solid. It's a simple but great movie. Definitely approved. Although this movie is quite comical in many moments, it also is a serious work that deals with very serious and dramatic subjects (such as sadism, family's problems, misunderstood people, a hostile society, various types of tragedy, anger, depression, etc...).

Chuck Nordstadt is one of cinema's funniest kids ever. He says some bombastic lines, he has a wicked sense of humor and a sarcastic personality, just as much he is a troubled kid at the same time. He is a «high class cheat» (like Mr. McLeod says) and openly a fan of John Wayne and he is the only one who loves his cat Mac. He also makes some of the most ridiculous and goofy facial expressions of all time, something which always cracks me up. Nick Stahl is terrific in this role which is his best and most memorable one. Chuck, despite being a teen, has a baby-like face. He's a cute kid.

We mustn't also forget how ironic and funny it is a dog with the name Mickey and the fact of Gloria's boyfriend being nicknamed "Flintstone" by Chuck. It's impossible not to laugh with Chuck's morbid humor.

Mel Gibson is awesome as the ex-teacher Justin McLeod and his burns look so real that they're almost chilling. He says some interesting Latin lines such as «Aut disce aut discede», «Secare deo», «Stultus puer» and «Et tu, Chuckus?», as well as a funny line about women: «The problem is one of water».

Beautiful landscapes also make this great underrated movie: forests, green places, beaches, mountains, stunning views of the sea and so on...

Chuck's mother has a nice and beautiful car: a Citroen DS. That is such a great car! By the way, Meg (Chuck's youngest and clever half-sister) has good taste for music: the song they play in the car's radio at the beginning (Sandy Posey's "Born a woman") is a very nice song!

This should definitely be on Top 250.
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10/10
Justin McLeod, the invisible man
GOWBTW30 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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Great movie
ShortCuteBlonde8 October 2002
This movie was perfect in my eyes. All the actors did a great and perfect job in this movie and i hope whoever else has seen it thinks so too bacause this movie really was great, it had one of those "feel good" plots so if you haven't seen it and are feeling a little down, then go rent this one because i guarantee it will make you feel good and happy about life.
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10/10
The Man Without A Face But Not Without A Heart
MadDogAbbey27 April 2008
This is one of my favourite films, Mel Gibson being my favourite actor has proved yet again what he can do with a role. Nick Stahl also does a brilliant job at playing Chuck Norstadt. Mel Gibson also made his Directing debut with this film and made it something special. A beautiful story about Chuck Norstadt (Stahl) who has an urge to get away from his family consisting of his mother (and her many husbands), his younger half sister & his older half sister who he has a bitter feud with. He is seen as a hard learner, this is where Justin McLeod (Gibson) comes in. Chuck in order to get away from his family must pass an exam to get into a Military Academy his father attended. Justin having been disfigured in a car accident is considered a 'Freak' by many including Chuck until they encounter each other. Chuck discovered Justin was a teacher and takes this opportunity to get him to tutor Chuck for the exam. Justin having lived alone for seven years is not interested in the idea until Chuck returns. Justin lives by the philosophy 'Learn or Leave' towards Chuck, until their friendship grows. Brilliant performances making a brilliant story that will tug at your emotions each time you watch this film makes it truly something special. This film is beauty in every sense of the word and brings new light to friendship & judging people under assumptions.
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10/10
Mel's Finest Performance, EVER!
thomascapital6 October 2002
To say that Mel Gibson is a fine actor is to state the obvious. His body of work simply speaks for itself!

In "Man..." he gives a stunning performance, one that demands us to look at the man, past his surface and into his heart that will reveal your character.

The movie is one that should be added to your collection.
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10/10
Beautiful and moving
losman4223 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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10/10
A True Braveheart Brought Us This Movie
roz-627 November 1998
Tender and sensitive, daring and bold - gorgeous actor defaces self to portray unlovely character, big name star gives children front and center spot-light, a passion for the telling of a story so great the only one he can convince to portray the character he longs to direct is himself - this is a multi-level movie that one can enjoy time after time after time and still find fresh moments to savour. As he did with his Hamlet, Mr. Gibson leaves some of the movie in the 'unspoken'. He invites us to become directly involved - rather than spoon-feeding his opinions into our collective brains he gallantly leaves some questions unanswered. Perhaps this is the problem some have with this movie - one is invited to 'think' and to participate - not always an easy thing to do when the matter at hand is a 'touchy' one. Yet he does no posturing of his own - leaving the camera and other actors to tell the story as his own character disappears from our own view. We are left to see Mel's character through the eyes of the only person who really *knows* him - awesome, simply awesome IMHO. The world we see through the eyes of Director Gibson is a a tender, and sweet, and intelligent, and daring and uniquely poignant one. Bravo to Mel Gibson not only for the excellent job of casting, directing and acting - but the courage to tell the story *his* way - to have a vision and carry that vision to film for all of us to see. Especially grand in a world whose vision normally is no further than the rump of the person one step ahead.
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10/10
This is Mel Gibson's best film both as an actor and as a director
chaunce5820 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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10/10
Magnificent
hitchs13 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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