While his athletic older brother Seth (Patrick Levis) scores on the school playing fields, thirteen-year old Justin (Frankie Muniz) views life from the vantage point of his wheelchair. Throughout his short life, Justin has endured countless surgeries to control his hydrocephalus, currently in remission. Eyeing Seth's trophies, he yearns to find a game in which his physical limitations wouldn't hinder him. In his fantasies, God appears to Justin as race car legend Bobby Wade (Tuc Watkins), who doesn't pull any punches about Justin's athletic prospects. Salvation may lie in Justin's antisocial neighbor Vic Sauder (Roger Aaron Brown). First, Justin must overcome Vic's objections to training him for a soap box derby. Mourning the loss of his daughter, who excelled in that sport, Vic slowly succumbs to Justin's positive outlook. Although Justin garners victories, he also earns the resentment of his brother, who's angry over the attention his parents lavish on Justin's new interest. But Justin's road to glory takes a far deadlier turn when his health suffers an untimely relapse. Heartwarming and irreverent, this biopic has wider appeal than the standard family-friendly treacle. Dealing honestly with spina bifida, the filmmakers transform what could have been a routine disease-of-the-week movie into a seriocomic celebration of the human spirit. Through a series of blackly comic daydreams, physically challenged Justin searches for his bliss without any phony-baloney pep talks or beatific smiles to soothe the audience. Although the climactic uplift is inevitable, this movie is remarkable for its refusal to condescend to its audience or to ignore the medical realities of Justin's suffering.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: NR
- Review: While his athletic older brother Seth (Patrick Levis) scores on the school playing fields, thirteen-year old Justin (Frankie Muniz) views life from the vantage point of his wheelchair. Throughout his short life, Justin has endured countless surgeries to co… (more)