This fairly uninspired (and equally uncredited) reworking of Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon is little more than a vehicle for star Elisabeth Shue. She's fine; what else matters? Molly (Shue) is a 28-year-old, mildly retarded autistic savant who can
memorize complex sets of words like the The Outer Limits intro and frozen pizza ingredients. When the Brookvue Nursing Home closes, Molly moves in with brother Buck (Aaron Eckhart), a single ad exec who dreams of becoming a sailor, and turns his life upside-down. Luckily, Buck is soon
contacted by comely Dr. Brookes (Jill Hennessey) of the Kerrans Institute; they want to use Molly as a guinea pig in a revolutionary procedure to graft genetically re-engineered cells onto the dormant area of her brain. After a minute or two of soul-searching, Buck agrees, and it's a success.
Molly learns to tie her shoes, and all those books she once memorized now mean something to her. She's suddenly one very smart and articulate cookie with an important message from the other side: the developmentally challenged don't like it when you shout at them. Dick Christie's shameless script
cleaves so closely to Keyes's original story that you know it's only a matter of time before Molly reverts to her pre-surgical state. But when she does, the transformation Shue's chance to really pull out the Oscar-grabbing stops occurs offscreen. Somehow, it's all about Buck, who
hardly counts as a character at all. Eckhart (who once gave a stunning performance in IN THE COMPANY OF MEN) is used more for his all-American looks than his considerable talent: He wears Gap well, and that's about the extent of the filmmakers' interest. And for all its sensitivity, the film
abounds with movie cliches about the developmentally challenged: They have much to teach us about emotional honesty, they can't resist jumping into fountains and they all dress like it's 1953.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: PG
- Review: This fairly uninspired (and equally uncredited) reworking of Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon is little more than a vehicle for star Elisabeth Shue. She's fine; what else matters? Molly (Shue) is a 28-year-old, mildly retarded autistic savant who can m… (more)