Academy Award winning actor Timothy Hutton makes his directorial debut with this heartwarming and uplifting story of an unlikely friendship between a young girl and a mentally challenged man who help each other escape the ... more »despair of their everyday lives.« less
Break out the tissue box for this emotional, realistic tale.
The Blue Raja | MD, USA | 02/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I may shed a tear every now and then during a dramatic movie scene, but this film really kept the tears flowing... I'm torn between recommending this movie and protecting people from seeing it because it's so sad.I've read many critics rip up this movie, also claiming Kevin Bacon's performance as being inconsistent, or perfunctory. All I have to say to that is they were watching KEVIN BACON PLAY A DISABLED PERSON, and did not accept the character for who he was and let the story roll. I'm sure if DiCaprio played Arnie in Gilbert Grape today after his established fame people would be more critical and see him as the known actor.This slice-of-life picture may seem slow at times, but it adds to the realism of a non-Hollywood blockbuster that tries to cram everything down your throat. It has a simple calmness to it, a child-like aura. And speaking of children, Evan Rachel Wood's performance is solid, believable and promises an incredible acting career for her future. She was a great casting call; not an over-dramatized, rag-dressed victim, but a believable 10-year-old in a small American town. This movie captures the innocent friendship that can exist between an adult and a child, much like Mel Gibson's "Man without a face," as his character was accused and judged for spending time with his student. "Digging to China" will always remain a small film with dust on the sleeve at the video rental store, but I think it surpasses many Hollywood blockbusters that explode special effects and violence for the viewing public that just screams for more. Some may compare Bacon's character (Ricky) to Hoffman's in "Rain Man," but my heart goes out to Ricky in "Digging to China," for he was conscious of his problem, and was hoping for a miracle."
Do you remember?
The Blue Raja | 12/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Do you remember when as a child you wanted to go far away, anyway you could? Do you remember befriending the outcast, the downtrodden, the not so cool, and not worrying about what other people thought? Evan Rachel Wood (Harriet) gives a sensitive preformance of just such a child. She befriends a mentally handicapped man (Kevin Bacon) who is being taken to a "home" by his dying mother, and they both try to escape the bad situations into which they were born. Bacon gives a truly outstanding performance of "Ricky" who is fearful of his future, knowing he will never mature, and who finds some temporary solace in this 10 year old friend during the only time at which their friendship is possible. Harriet will grow up and escape, Ricky won't. Definitely a must see."
Not your conventional tearjerker
The Blue Raja | 09/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was happily surprised at what a quirky, insightful and often humourous story this was (along with a teary ending). Evan Rachel Wood is superb superb in naturally bringing to life her unusually sensitive and perceptive character -- at the pace she's on she's destined for several academy awards. Bacon fortunately doesn't overdo it -- more like dicaprio in gilbert grape than the irritating hoffman in rainman. The script is packed with little dialogue gems that you'd never find in a Disney movie, and though Hutton's first-time directing shows its inexperience, it actually fits in with the simple atmosphere of the movie. Don't expect too much and be pleasantly surprised like me."
Flawed, but still touching
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 02/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
""You're going to grow up and I'm not."This is what Ricky Schroth (Kevin Bacon) says to Harriet Frankovitz (Evan Rachel Wood) near the end of the film, expressing both the promise of her life, and the tragedy of his. It is precisely because of the potential of this sharp spoken, sharp witted, beautiful little girl with a mind of her own that we are mesmerized by her, as we are by our own children, and why we are so deeply saddened by the young man who is not a man and never will be.This is a film that discovers itself after a clumsy start and develops until at the end we see the beauty and the tragedy of its story as an affirmation of life. Kevin Bacon starts awkwardly and has to work hard to conquer a demanding role. But so does Wood, who in the beginning at times seemed unsure of who she is and how she should feel and react. But both actors grow into their characters and become stronger and stronger as the film progresses. However, I think Director Timothy Hutton (Best Supporting Actor for Ordinary People in 1980) might have profited by re-shooting some of the earlier scenes.It is interesting to compare Bacon's performance with that of other actors who have attempted to play mentally retarded or mentally challenged characters--I'm thinking here of Dustin Hoffman in The Rain Man (1988) and Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade (1996). Dustin Hoffman was of course something close to brilliant in his Academy Award winning role. He had a charming script, and because he played alongside Tom Cruise he benefitted from not having to carry the picture by himself. This was not the case for Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade, where too much was attempted without enough help so that Thornton ended up too much in front of the camera, and that was not always to his benefit. Here Bacon is wonderfully supported not only by Miss Wood, but by Mary Stuart Masterson who plays Harriet's "sister" Gwen. Some people have criticized Masterson's performance, but I think they are reacting to her non-sympathetic character, a woman, who, as Harriet says, "should have been a nurse. She's always making some guy feel better." I think Masterson was very subtle in a unrefined role, and touching as a woman who had a lot to learn. Also excellent and completely believable in a limited role was Marian Seldes as Ricky's mother.I was surprised that such an original and deeply lived script was not adapted from a novel. No writer could have just dreamed up this story. It had to have been lived in some sense. (Part of it was dreamed up of course.) So I guess, Karen Janszen, who wrote the script must have lived it. At any rate, she is to be commended for such an original conception. The setting in North Carolina at a rural motel ("Mom won it in a divorce"), and the three who ran "Mac's Indian Cabins" was perfect for the tale. Her celebration of the spirit of a ten-year-old who thinks she can dig to China was precious and warm. Some of the lines were so perfect. I am thinking of Harriet's voice over after it is revealed that she and Ricky "got married" (baptized is more like it!). The ten-year-old says, "Gwen was mostly upset cause I got married before her.""
Beautiful, sensitive and warm story-to laugh and cry
Dennis Littrell | 07/11/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful heart warming story of a 10 year old girl in a dysfunctional family who befriends a mentally retarded young man. They try to escape each of their worlds. The greatest line of the movie: Hutton says to the 10 year old "you like me now but will not later, because you will grow up and I never will"."