Does the need to escape ones own mortality create visions or does one create visions to escape? Victims of child abuse create many parallel worlds to evade the reality of the one in which they reside. In a production that received no particular attention and little acclaim, we find Tom Hanks narrating a story of his childhood to his own boys. As he says to them....."History is all in the mind of the teller, truth is in the telling"......., he begins the saga of the childhood of he and his brother.
I find this statement very provocative. Taken in and of itself there is a grain of truth for, in this movie, we are reliving history through Hanks eyes and mind. No one is around to dispel his words, so they do, in fact, become truth. When you think about it, that is basically how all stories become fact.
Through Hanks eyes we watch these two young boys struggle to survive many factors. First their father abandons them, then mom uproots them and moves them to another town. Next, we have the evil stepfather aka The King, that for some reason develops an intense hatred of Hanks' younger brother and begins his abuse. Perhaps he could see the man Hanks would become and knew he could not intimidate him or perhaps he was just an abusive ass.
The fact that the boys are new kids in town and often face ridicule does nothing to make their lives any easier. With the help of the wonderful wagon, the Radio Flyer, and that particular joy and wonder that only small children have, the boys are given a glimpse into the impossible - escape.
With my childs mind and my childs heart I want to believe Bobby made good his escape to freedom. In my hardened adult mind and heart I know wagons do not fly. But again, this takes us back to Hanks' statement (out of content) ...'truth is in the telling...'
Many were put off by this release stating they felt cheated' because the abuse of Bobby is never really shown, only the results. Was it necessary to show the abuse - I think not. I think the implications were plenty - the sound of his boots on the floorboards, a shot of his hands holding a belt, his surly voice, the look of terror on Bobby's face when he hears him.
Are we so shallow that we require the visual of physical abuse? Have we been so tainted in our daily lives that these scenes would have actually added to the movie? Have the visual stimuli in movies breached our creativity so thoroughly that our imaginations have stagnated in our brains and without having the infraction blown up before our eyes we no longer are able to see it in our minds eye? Are we so jaded that we need to see child abuse to say "Oh, now, that was a good movie"? Tell me, as a child did you use a coloring book or color on blank paper? It is all about imagination!
I give the movie a huge thumbs up. I believe the actors (Lorraine Bracco, John Heard, Adam Baldwin, Elijah Wood, Joseph Mazzello, Ben Johnson and Tom Hanks) did a wonderful job in this movie. In addition, I think the director, Richard Donner, is to be applauded rather than shunned for offering us the ability to imagine the atrocities in these childrens' lives instead of forcing the visual on us.
Sorry bout the soapbox but I was appalled at the reactions I heard from some people about the lack of visuals in this movie. I realize it is just a movie but it was the insensitivity that ticked me off, in case you couldn't tell
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
Live your life with the goal to 'pay it forward' and do one good thing for someone else
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Two young brothers' lives are turned upside down when their new alcoholic stepfather enters their world and begins to beat young Bobby. Devoted to their mom, they come up with their own solution and attempt to build a working airplane from their ordinary red wagon. In the process, they transform their own lives into an extraordinary adventure.