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Little Man Tate [DVD] [1992]

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Product details

  • Actors: Jodie Foster, Dianne Wiest, Adam Hann-Byrd, Harry Connick Jr., David Hyde Pierce
  • Directors: Jodie Foster
  • Writers: Scott Frank
  • Producers: Peggy Rajski, Randy Stone, Scott Rudin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 6 May 2002
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006421F
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,901 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Jodie Foster plays the single mother of a child prodigy. Her son Fred (Adam Hann-Byrd) is discovered by an expert who tries to persuade Fred's mother to let the child fulfil his potential. With Dianne Wiest and Harry Connick Jnr. Foster's directorial debut.


Jodie Foster and Dianne Wiest star in Foster's engaging directorial debut, Little Man Tate. Single mother Dede Tate is doing her best to raise her brilliant-but-lonely son Fred on a waitress' salary. Jane Grierson (Wiest), something of an expert on being brilliant but lonely, spots Fred's genius and wants to enrol him in her school for the gifted.

A simple story, but very well told. Foster and Wiest both give excellent, sensitive performances, conveying the selfishness in each characters desire to have Fred to herself, as well as the pain in not being able to fulfil all his needs on her own. Adam Hann-Byrd gives a remarkable performance as Fred, showing his intelligence without getting precious about it. Foster demonstrates a steady directing hand, but the best moments are the more whimsical ones in which she reveals the quiet exhilaration of Fred's mental leaps, like when a pool game suddenly becomes a beautiful collision of lines and forces. --Ali Davis,

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DMA on 15 Aug 2011
Format: DVD
Since Diane's scathing review is written from the perspective of an experienced parent, an equally knowledgeable one is surely also due from a (former) gifted child.

Admittedly, Little Man Tate is hardly a work of social realism (it lurches from comedy to fantasy to melodrama in places). The two mother figures are limited by being binary opposites, the happy ending is too 'pat' and the ultimate message - that common sense and abstract genius need each other - is rather `on the nose'. However, Jodie Foster was herself something of a child prodigy, and this film is infused with the child's viewpoint. It's a flawed little gem.

While I never had Fred's level of genius, I skipped two years at school, outperformed my peers across most of the curriculum, and didn't learn to 'mask'. Seeing this film for the first time in my early twenties I finally found a character in fiction who represented my experiences. So while the two female leads are rather cartoon-like, I found Fred - a touchingly straightforward and arresting performance by Adam Hann-Byrd - entirely believable and relatable. His isolation and social ineptitude, his inability to stop thinking, even the disastrous birthday party, all took me right back to my childhood. Sure it's simplistic, even a missed opportunity in places, but it's also surprisingly truthful. At least, it spoke to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Bijlsma on 19 April 2013
Format: DVD
"Little man Tate" is a lovely movie. The story is heartwarming, moving, sad, funny... simply lovely! There's a cliche here and there, but the great performances by Jodie Foster, Dianne Wiest and Adam Hann-Byrd make up for everything. This is certainly a movie I could watch every few years.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. M. Purkiss VINE VOICE on 8 Feb 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As the parent of a high-testing child, I hated this.

Fred is just sooo gifted - music, maths, poetry - he's Einstein! No, wait, he's Shakespeare! No, he's Mozart. And so of course, he's utterly friendless, as they were - except actually they weren't. Most 'gifted' children have lots of friends.

Wiest too is the cliched Lonely Genius. Sigh. All requiring blue-collar good sense....

And the idea the Dianne Wiest character voices - that genius learns wihtout effort - is utterly misleading. Mozaret and Shakespeare worked like hell, and so did Einstein. it's jsut that WHEN THEY worked, the results were astounding.

Most high-testing kids in Fred's circs learn to mask at a very early age. Mysteriously, Fred doesn't. Unless he's masking when he misdefines lepton, but I think that's the screenwriter.

This really doesn't cut it. It's touching, but it's cheap. Searching for Bobby Fischer was a lot better, because it showed hwo horrible parents and mentors can be to someone very clever. Best of all is Noi Tre. Give this a miss.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Jan 2006
Format: DVD
My wife and I agreed - the characters are too 2-dimensional, and the film is ultimately too "feel good." Glad we saw it on TV. Rent it before you buy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 46 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Never get tired of watching this movie... 7 Feb 2005
By ColeJay - Published on
Format: DVD
Well, I don't know all those technical things about whether a movie is good or not. I don't worry about how good the directing is, or even how good the script is. And sure, it can get a little (ok, a lot) annoying if the acting in a movie is bad, but all I really care about is whether I like the movie or not. I loved this movie from the first time I saw it, and my husband likes it too. Maybe it's considered a drama, but there are so many cute, funny moments in the movie that make LMT so very enjoyable. And Fred is so adorable. :o)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Shashank Tripathi - Published on
Format: DVD
Genius does not herd with genius, said Oliver Wendell Holmes, but come to think of it it does not herd with anyone at all. Little Man Tate charts the solitary prodigious existence of a pint-sized 6-year old, gifted beyond the regular rations allocated to ordinary men.

The story is as hackneyed as can be: a working class mother fiercely protective of her little brainiac, wants him to do well, so despite sparks with school psychologist lets him take part in bigtime contests for special kids, where he meets people of all kinds, etc etc. You get the picture.

Or may be you don't. The proof is in the pudding. Debuting as a director, Jodie Foster nails the production quality. The cinematography is fabulous. While parts of the script are predictably cheesy, all the characters are generally pleasant, the emotional scenes are moving, and all the interactional contretemps resolve neatly in the end.

And the message is heartening: even if he is more "grown up" than the rest of his Peter Pan peers, Fred is not special in every way. He is just as needy of a mother's affection, a teacher's direction and the companionship of regular social groups.

Plain stuff, but very efficiently delivered. Recommended rental.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Genius re-gaining childhood 25 Oct 2000
By Graham Little - Published on
A child genius who lives with his now single mother, both of whom enjoy a fruitful, loving relationship, despite the life the young boy leads. A classic film that allows an understanding for people of not only the way youngsters are graded, tested, and pushed beyond their years, but also an insight to how the class "square" might have felt when you were at school. A brilliant directed film, and a definite must watch.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good pic about finding your place in the world 21 Nov 2004
By D Dunleavy - Published on
Format: DVD
I disagree somewhat with the reviews I have seen here. Although the main character is a genius, I think the main plot is about finding your place in life. While some children are lucky and slide right in, here the genius child is out of place with his surroundings. With a teacher and mom who cannot stimulate him intellectually, and the other children who make fun of him.

Soon he has the chance to be in a school with other geniuses, but does he fit here? I'll let you find out.

I think the boy is engaging and believable as the child genius. And as always Diane Weist does a terrific job as the head of the 'genius institute'. Jodie foster gives a good performance as the off beat mom. And I think she does a good job as director, although some movie seems predictible.

Overall better than most of the movies out there getting 4 stars by critics.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Wonderfull 11 Jan 2007
By Joao Vaz - Published on
Format: DVD
I just love this movie. After showing her skills in acting, Jodie Foster, steps forward to prove that her skills on directing are not less impressive.

I do recomend this movie, great acting, very moving, show it to your children.
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