Delicately balanced

Review of Simon Birch (1998)

Review of Simon Birch (1998) movie, by Stefan Stenudd


A film of many charming features, indeed, but what struck me as the most impressive quality of it, was its delicate balance between comedy and tragedy.



       Strolling ahead on a tight rope, with abyss on either side - that of despair and that of burlesque - and never falling. It even succeeds in a most daring balance between pity and parody.

       Portraying a boy with such a severe physical handicap, and with terrible parents at that, would normally tie any director's hands and feet, and the result would be sweet, at best. In this film, though, we are even allowed to smile at the odd clashes between the normal and that which is not, and laugh at the situation comedy evolving. The result is endearing, truly compassionate.

       And the acting is tremendous, especially from Joseph Mazzello and Ian Michael Smith, the two boys in a very odd couple friendship. Mazzello is breathtaking in scenes of such emotional complexity that most actors would be wise to find an easy way out. I have no idea how he does it, but certainly it is by talent - no schooling gives that kind of tools.

       The plot is overly complex, with several 'deus ex machina' events uncalled for, et cetera - probably in fear that the skilled balance of the film and the nerve of the acting would not suffice. But they do, and then some.

Stefan Stenudd
3 March 2003




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Click the header to get to the webpage where I present all my books in English. Click an image below to go to that book's page on Amazon.

Ever Young. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. All's End. Science fiction novel by Stefan Stenudd.
Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes - The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
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Tarot Unfolded. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Your Health in Your Horoscope. Book by Stefan Stenudd.




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I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.