John Cassavetes's second effort as a studio director is an engrossing, sobering exposé of society's cruel prejudice toward children afflicted with mental retardation; the film focuses on an institution for those with Down's syndrome. A young boy, Reuben Widdicombe (Bruce Ritchey), arrives at the same time as Jean Hansen (Judy Garland), an inexperienced city transplant who has decided that she wants to help children. Immediately Reuben latches on to her, to the dismay of Dr. Matthew Clark (Burt Lancaster), the head of the institution. He feels that Jean's affections for Reuben will disturb the other children, prompting him to separate the pair. Convinced that a reunion with Reuben's parents (Gena Rowlands and Steven Hill) is important for the boy's mental health, Jean confronts them on this issue. Cassavetes stunningly uses actual disabled children to convey the reality of mental retardation, which gives the film a level of humanity and depth that actors could not re-create. He combines this with the performances of professionals--notably Lancaster and Garland--in this unflinching drama that resonates long after the final credits have rolled.
Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Gena Rowlands, Steven Hill, Bruce Ritchey
6 July 2009
Region 2 (Európa)
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