Although the horrors of WWII are far removed from the Pacific Coast community where adolescent Duke Cooper (Trevor Morgan) and his three best chums play soldier, experiment with swearing, and earnestly patrol the beach for... more » Japanese submarines, the realities of the war are about to come crashing down around them. Not when a Japanese soldier, stranded and wounded when his sub quickly dived, washes ashore; his capture by the foursome merely allows for more playtime and thoughts of becoming heroes. It's coming because Duke's older brother is on some island awaiting combat and the black sedans with military tags have already begun rolling through town to deliver their grim announcements. And Duke's Japanese American pal Willie Tanaka (Yuki Tokuhiro), all three feet and 55 pounds of him, has suddenly become a threat to national security, so he, his mother, and grandfather are soon to be shipped away to an internment camp. For a children's film, these are strong, potent themes to discuss; unfortunately any kid will be put off by I'll Remember April's obviousness and condescending tone in a heartbeat. The script by Mark Sanderson assumes its audience needs every point spelled out twice: Duke and his friends (among them Haley Joel Osment, top-billed on the video box despite a smallish role) have the strange habit of repeating ad infinitum their conclusions about the unfairness of it all. Composer Paul Zaza apparently finds that insufficient, since his score hammers home each preprogrammed emotion without mercy. Director Bob Clark has made wonderful movies (A Christmas Story, Murder by Decree) and awful ones (Porky's, Rhinestone); this one falls somewhere in between, sincere and blessed with a clutch of good child actors, but crassly manipulative and too intent on educating its audience to realize it is talking down to them instead. --Bruce Reid« less
Robert R. from ESCONDIDO, CA Reviewed on 12/7/2016...
Outstanding movie. The boys in this movie did a great job acting out their parts. Good story line and really takes you back to the emotions and life during WWII.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mark T. (THEBLUEMAX) from ATOKA, TN Reviewed on 4/27/2014...
An excellent little movie about the goings on of life in America during World War II. Don't listen to any critique of this film. Just watch it and you'll be glad you did.
Tina R. Reviewed on 3/21/2009...
Not really a family film. Being it has not rating, I would rate this at least "PG". It has language, no close caption. The story line was pretty good.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Good, should have been much better
David | Utah | 05/01/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Actually, I rate this movie 3 1/2 stars, but that isn't an option here, so I'll give it 3 stars plus a thumbs up. Most of what the other customer reveiwers had to say was true, though a bit exagerated in a few cases. I do disagree with much of what the Amazon reveiwer, Bruce Reid, had to say. For example, as to the kids' over-repeating their moral indignation. When real kids get something this big on their minds (they learn that their Japanese/American buddy and his family are to be sent to an internment camp) they are like a broken record! If anything, this is understated, not overstated. Another place Reid is wrong is about the musical score. It does no hammering at all. In fact, it happens to be Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, for the most part, and seems quite appropriate.The film's bright spot is its young stars, and it is no stretch to call these four kids stars, because they surely do shine. They are all good actors, and I must say that I was most surprised and impressed by Trevor Morgan, who left me cold in The Sixth Sense as an antagonist. Here he is not only a protagonist but the central character in the story, and the difference in his performance is remarkable. He is very natural most of the time, but this, especially with kids, has a lot to do with the writing, which I'm sorry to say is so spotty and irregular that it swiftly becomes the Achilles heel of this movie.At times, though, the writing combines delightfully with the superb natural acting of the boys (if indeed it is acting rather than just these four kids being their natural selves with the dialog given them). Their best scene is near the beginning, when the four of them fling themselves onto the bed and read a letter sent to Duke (Trevor Morgan) by his brother Anthony, who is a soldier seeing action in the War. They laugh and giggle and wiggle and hang upside down, all the while making comments that are so natural that the whole scene could have been entirely ad-libbed.However, this level of dialog does not hold up, and there are times when the overall quality of the movie in all respects seems to be wavering at the edge of an abyss. Fortunately, it never goes over the edge, and we are rewarded in the end with an overall favorable experience. You can poke fun at the story all day long, but in the end it must be said that there is more than enough that is good in this movie to place it a notch above the usual "kids save the world" children's adventure story.I titled this review, "Good, should have been much better." I'll stick with that. The kid actors are so good, in fact, that they alone are able to carry the movie, even towards the end when their dialog occasionally borders on the insipid and jarring. You go along thinking one minute you're watching a film that will be among your all-time faves, and the next minute wondering what in the world the writer(s) and director could have been thinking of! It's something of a roller coaster ride.So, what's the bottom line? This "kids save the world" movie is okay and well worth watching. ...Except that in this case the kids not only saved the world, but the movie too!"
A successful look at friendship and loyalty
William G. Kelly | Castro Valley, CA USA | 08/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wonderful, funny, poignant film about four boys during World War II who find a Japanese sailor washed up on the California coast near Santa Barbara and take him prisoner in their clubhouse, intending to turn him over to the authorities; only he saves the life of one of them, and they no longer regard him as an enemy. Here is a film that explores friendship, loyalty, and what happens when you meet an "enemy" face to face. Can two people from different worlds laugh, swim, embrace, and grieve together?This is a real find -- a small-budget, little-publicized film (it must have gone straight to video) with well-known actors and seasoned direction. Pat Morita and Trevor Morgan are marvelous in their roles, as is Yuji Okumoto as the sailor. Great attention has been paid to authentic period setting such as hair style, clothing, music, cars. It has been shot with a wide lens that gives an impression of light and color. And unlike many modern films, it leaves the viewer with a sense of wholesomeness. While some will criticize it for being a bit too breezy, to me it was a breath of fresh air."
Will the real Hollywood please stand up
Rajesh K. Makwana | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So once in awhile you come across a heartfelt labor-of-love movie that really makes you think twice about all those effect-ridden hollywood schlops the studios force feed us to feed their pockets. This is it. "I'll Remeber April" features a brilliantly crafted story by writer Mark Sanderson and is brought wonderfully to life by an amazing cast including Mark Harmon, Pam Dawber & Haley-Joel Osment. Pat Morita and Trevor Morgan add terrific heart to this often forgotten period in our history where Japanese interment camps effected even small town america as fear got the best of almost everyone. When you see this movie you find yourself thinking "this really happenned". You find yourself asking if you would react the same way, what would you do. Director Bob Clark says in the DVD commentary the budget was only $1.8mm. I sure hope hollywood takes note because obviously every penny was spent to ensure the emotion of the film was not lost. Mark Sanderson has a gift for not only adult dialog but also childrens dialog making this story appealing to all ages and believable on all levels. A huge thumbs up--buy it--rent it--own it---it will open your eyes to what a real box office movie is all about."
Amazing story for amazing actors
Eban | 01/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is unbelievable, i'm french i watched it, and oh my god!! if you want to cry, to laugh, buy it!! The youngs actors are amazing specially Haley Joel Osment the new young biggest actor!! After The Sixth Sens, Pay It Forward(so sad), and A.I, if you haven't seen I'll Remember April, you miss a fabulous Osment's movie.
So i have just an advice: buy it and love it, you can't do else.
Believe me is a great fabulous movie ;-)"
Wonderful story with wonderful acting
Jessyca | Alabama,USA | 07/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I'll Remember April" is one of the most uplifting movies I've ever seen. We learn enough about the characters to actually care about them, especially the lead character Duke Cooper(who is portrayed brilliantly by one of the best child actors around,Trevor Morgan,who has a wide range as an actor)and his best friend Willy.I give praise to the writers and everyone who worked on this film.This is truly a classic."