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4.6 out of 5 stars29
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 11 August 2009
Mel Gibson in his directorial debut adapts Isablee Holland's 1972 novel with the major difference of course being that Mel's Justin McLeod is painted far more morally acceptable..for obvious reasons I won't say here.

Nic Stahl makes his debut as Chuck Nordstadt and along the way we're sucked into the world of a young teenager trying to escape the reality of being son to a single mother with two half-sisters.

The acting is first class, first Stahl as the potty-mouthed and later passionate Chuck and then Mel as McLeod who assumes the role as tutor to the boy during one memeroable summer.

Of course there's a catch to the feel good drama, McLeod is a hideous loner who is not accepted by the community around him and it takes the slightly less predjudiced and desperation of Chuck to find out all is not as it seems.

This is one of my favourite movies in my collection, having watched it last night again I can say that is really is one of those rare movies that never loses its appeal or doesn't get worse with age. Chuck is still Chuck, you will root for him and McLeod is still admirable, witty and "more than the role on the stage he was meant to play".

Sentimental, very Stand by Me-ish but having a lot more adult themes aluded to by the review above its a classic for me and great evidence Braveheart, Apocylpto and the Patriot wouldnt of been just big budget humdinger flukes without the great direction of Gibson.

The final shot with McLeod waving back as he walks away still gets me 10/10
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on 6 October 2000
On the surface this is just another story about an adult helping a disadvantaged child develop his potential. But their meeting is embedded in a social environment that takes its own liberalism and freedom of choice for granted while totally blind to the fact that its prejudices and self-absorption are as apt to destroy a sensitive soul as all the Victorian restrictions of our forefathers put together. Mel Gibson, as a teacher maimed in both body and soul, gives one of his most moving and sensitive performances, both as the main character and the director of the film, while Nick Stahl makes a memorable film-debut as the pre-teen product of a thoroughly dysfunctional family. It is his inner sense of direction, of where he wants his life to go, that ultimately heals both him and his teacher. One unforgettable character among many fine performances, is that of the mother, a perpetual flowerchild aware of the fact that "she was not made for this mothering business." That, in a nutshell, is what gives the story its depth.
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on 7 September 2002
The fact that an underlying sadness pervades this film should not deter those that like to be shown a different view of the world and those that like Mel Gibsons' prodigious talents. This is a beautiful - as well as sad - film with the director Mel using all of his skills to guide the films message into our hearts. The message is of the deep rooted prejudices held by people and the truly epic battles fought by everyday people everyday. Much acclaim must go to the boy hero of the film who befriends the friendless Mel and then grows to be a person of whom Mel is proud. Expect no easy or happy answers - but do expect a realistically visioned hopeful ending. Well worth watching.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 September 2015
IMPRESSIVE! I loved every single scene of this film! It is even more impressive if we take in account that it was the first film Mel Gibson directed - and he immediately made a masterpiece. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

1968, a little town somewhere near Boston. Chuck Nordstadt (Nick Stahl), a boy about 12-years old, lives with his dysfunctional mother and his two half-sisters, an older one, Gloria, a gorgeous redhead who hates him and a younger one, Meg, who is friendly, precociously intelligent but also a little pesky. Chuck misses his father, who died in somehow mysterious circumstances and totally hates his life - he dreams of entering the military boarding school to later become a pilot but also to get away from his family. He is however a slow learner and needs desperately a tutor - and then one day he learns that the reclusive, unfriendly disfigured man living nearby, a certain Justin McLeod (Mel Gibson) is actually a former university teacher. And then the film begins.

This is one of the BEST FILMS I saw in many years. Mel Gibson did an amazing job as director and also as actor. He very carefully adapted the original novel, changing it in some crucial aspects and I believe that he did the right thing - I am quite certain that I would hate this film if it followed closely the book. Casting was simply perfect, with young Nick Stahl giving an incredible performance, Margaret Witton being perfect as the unstable mom, Fay Masterson portraying marvellously a spiteful viper and little Gaby Hoffmann doing great as brilliant pixish Meg. The life of a little town is described with care, amusement, criticism but also some tenderness. Views are marvellous and dialogs are frequently irresistible.

I will keep this review deliberately short to avoid spoilers, because this is a film with surprises and it keeps us guessing and wondering how will it end until the very final scene. I have no words strong enough to praise it. This is a film to buy, watch, keep and re-watch. ENJOY!
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on 2 May 2015
Justin McLeod has been living the life of a recluse for seven years, ever since he was horribly disfigured in an unfortunate event.

Known by the locals as "Hamburger Head", he's the subject of many rumors and wild stories.

Chuck is a young boy determined to get into the same military school as his father, despite his mother's protests and his half-sisters' mocking, even if it means studying all through the summer.

Desperate for a tutor, Chuck encounters the reclusive McLeod, and together they begin to help each other deal with a world that has shunned them both.......

Despite what you think about Gibson the man, you cannot deny the mans body of work as a director, and his debut, in my opinion is his greatest ever achievement. Here Gibson literally changes his while screen persona, and this is probably why it under performed at the box office, people were not ready for a serious Mel, let alone disfigured.

But despite McLeod being the source of many a scary story, he is the most humanistic, the most holistic character in the whole movie, and although for most of the first act he is the boogeyman, thanks to camera angles and long shots, the second and third act portray him superbly.

What scares the townsfolk the most about McLeod isn't the stories about him, it's the normality about him when he encounters folk, the lengths he goes to to stay away from folk, so I feel it comes as a pseudo relief to many when the Sheriff takes Chuck home from his house, their false fears have falsely been confirmed.

The performances are tremendous, and the final scene is tear-jerking.

It's a wonderful movie.
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on 4 September 2006
Mel Gibson's all action films do not normally appeal to me. However, I rate this as one of the best and most moving films I have ever seen. Nick Stahl was so natural in it, and Mel Gibson was superlative. His whole range of expressions and body language, showing sadness, pleasure, rejection etc. are a master class in showing how very poignant such subtle acting can be.
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on 23 November 2012
I found that "The Man Without a Face" is an inspiring film focusing on people's prejudices and how we judge one another by our appearances. This seems a more modern take on "Phantom of The Opera", however rather than being a twisted romance this drama presents the idea of how people are quick to jump to conclusions. A good watch and read.
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on 12 April 2004
I have both of these films and as a big mel gibson fan enjoyed both. The man without a face is my fave film and have enjoyed it many a time. The story is one of a great relationship between wel and a young boy. They both help each other to dicover themseves. A great film which has made me cry on many a time.
Forever young, in my eyes not as good as without a face(cause thats my fave) but still a good film. Another one about a relationship between two people. Not give to much away but i did enjoy it.
Both these films are great and show mel gibson with great talent.
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on 9 October 2012
I loved this DVD when I was younger and brought it for my daughter, it arrived quickly and it is really nice to be able to watch it again.
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on 8 April 2013
Brilliant, heart warming film. Can be for couples or the family. My partner and I went on a mel gibson craze and brought a few :)
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