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Inspiring film about a beautiful boy
on 29 December 2007
I first watched this as a teenager nearly 20 years ago, I didn't expect it to move me so much as a rather more cynical 30 something, but it did. There's really not much to fault with this film. A simple tale of Rocky Dennis, tragically disfigured by a degenerative illness, and his attempts to overcome prejudice, fit in at his local All-American highschool and, of course, get a girl. In lesser hands, and with a celeb such as Cher heading the cast list, this could easily have turned into something sugar coated and schmalzy. Yet though the feel good moments come thick and fast, Rocky discovers that in this capricious world, courage and niceness do not guarantee a storybook ending. As the movie progresses, it becomes increasingly heartrending to watch. Eric Stolz, as the boy (based on a real life character) is so natural and engaging that within minutes you have forgotten the layers of makeup which turn him into someone horribly deformed, and consequently feel his pain as he encounters prejudice and cruelty outside of his 'family', the protective biker group, and of course, Cher, playing the mother in a very fine big screen debut.
In the genre of 'overcoming tragedy and the odds' movies, this is surely one of the best, yet also one of the most painful.