Best Movies of All Time + [Robin Williams]

JACK

JACK1996-13


(I know this is short, but it's the only trailer I could find.)

Jack is a 1996 dramatic comedy directed by Francis Ford Coppola that centers around a ten-year-old boy named, well, Jack. The problem is that Jack Powell (Robin Williams) has a medical condition that causes him to grow and age at four times the normal rate; therefore, at age ten, he looks like a forty-year-old man. Because of this, his parents - Brian (Brian Kerwin) and Karen (Diane Lane) - have chosen to keep him out of public school, leaving his home-schooling to an outsider named Mr. Woodruff (Bill Cosby). However, Jack desperately wants to go to school in order to have the opportunity to leave his house and make new friends, so his parents reluctantly agree, sending him to the local public school to start in fifth grade with Miss Marquez (Jennifer Lopez). Despite some expected early troubles with fitting in, Jack soon begins to make friends, especially with a boy named Louis (Adam Zolotin).

I just have to say, I probably loved this movie way more than I should have. I watched it on the recommendation of my friend Claire, and although I'd heard little bits and pieces about the film, I'd never actually seen any of it. After doing a little research, I found that the movie wasn't terribly well-received upon its release in 1996, nor has it been well-received by regular audiences over the time since its release. And I can't really understand what those people are thinking because I absolutely loved it.

We've got a very good screenplay working here that's filled with moments of laughter and moments of tears. It's got its finger on the pulse of childhood and adolescence as well as the incredible fits of pain and anxiety that would come with a child having a disease such as Jack's. At times, you'll be laughing so hard that you'll cry, and at other times, you'll be crying so hard that you'll want to laugh to break the moment. Or maybe that was just my reaction to it all. There's a kind of ticking clock associated with the movie, in that you know how it's all going to end - and it's an utterly tragic thought - but you still want to see the most made of the time leading to that point.

Speaking of having a finger on the pulse of childhood... Robin Williams is simply fantastic in the titular role. He's always been able to embody any level of comedy, but taking on the lifestyle and the mannerisms of a child couldn't have been easy. But he knocked it outta the park, so to speak. I completely lost myself in the film, forgetting that he was Robin Williams and simply seeing a boy named Jack afflicted a most terrible "disease." He was that good. We've also got some great supporting performances, especially from Zolotin who is Williams's counter in every way. Whereas Jack is the manic boy trying to figure out the world, Louis is the calm, cool and collected kid who's world-savvy. The two complement each other perfectly. It was also a delight to see Bill Cosby gracing the screen time and again. He has a couple of very good scenes, including one heartfelt moment where he tells Jack just how special he is. Kudos, Mr. Cosby.

Yes, this movie is heartfelt. Yes, this movie is sappy. Yes, this movie is predictable. But I loved it anyways. There's a charm to it all that left me laughing and crying and wanting the best for everyone in the movie. It's rare that I get this hooked into a comedy, but I'm so glad that I did.

Movie Review Summary:Grade: A-
Current All-Time Rank: Best - #238
2 Thumbs Up