Simon Birch

I like “sentimental”. It makes me feel that there’s hope for the human race – or at least a few people in it – even if they are only screen characters.

Simon Birch is the story of a sweet friendship between two boys: Joe, the only child of a single mother and Simon, a very small boy who was never expected to survive, but did.

Each boy has a distinct goal. Simon believes he has a purpose in life, a destiny and that he is an instrument of God. He constantly searches for meaning to to his life and is convinced that he will be a hero one day, in some way, even when others aren’t so sure. But, he also is acutely aware that he is running out of time. Joe, meanwhile, is obsessed with discovering who his real father is, a secret never revealed by his mother.

Set in the early sixties, this film, although predictable at times, is nicely crafted with good acting and some funny dialogue.

It won’t be giving anything away to say that Jim Carrey appears in an unannounced part as the adult Joe who does the voice over throughout the film and it might even help in getting people to rent the video.

The movie introduces Ian Michael Smith as the physically challenged Simon; Joseph Mazzello is Joe, Ashley Judd plays the best Mom ever created on film and Oliver Platt is her understanding suitor.

Lotta says this is a fine family drama that will help teach humility and compassion to kids who sometimes can be uniquely cruel to each other. There’s some sexual commentary, however, but it’s fairly tame by today’s standards.