(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 42
4 out of 5 🐙
Look, I know Tom Cruise’s personal life is hella-problematic as of late. But we should remember that it is really, really hard to play a “normal guy” and make him seem compelling and interesting. Tom Cruise was a master of this. He had to be the base to Dustin Hoffman’s spice. And he did a fantastic job. Dustin Hoffman’s career is filled with stellar performances. He’s a potential Mount Rushmore of male actors candidate. And I won’t make a stink about this one even though it’s not one of my personal favorites.
And now I make a stink.
I think inclusion is critical. People with challenges should see people with similar conditions represented in media in a positive, and better yet, complete way. It was 1988 so the country’s understanding of autism was quite different than it is now. But for a 14-year-old suburban kid, this was the first time I saw an autistic person portrayed in a major film.
But I think Hollywood has grown to clamor to make projects with protagonists who have disabilities of all kinds. Sometimes they are done well. Sometimes they are done terribly (Radio). But it often feels like an Oscar-less actor decides to play a person with a disability so they can win the Oscar. Not that the Academy often awards the right Oscar to the right person at the right time but it seems particularly enthusiastic to fall in love with this genre.
All that griping aside, it’s an uplifting film. And it really does try to portray a disabled person in full and that’s all you can ask for.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)