Simon Birch

Joseph Mazzello .... Joe Wenteworth
Oliver Platt .... Ben Goodrich
David Strathairn .... Rev. Russell
Dana Ivey .... Grandmother Wenteworth
Jan Hooks .... Miss Leavey
Beatrice Winde .... Hilde Grove
Ian Michael Smith .... Simon Birch
Ashley Judd .... Rebecca Wenteworth
Cecilley Carroll .... Marjorie
Sumela Kay .... Ann
Sam Morton .... Stuart
Jim Carrey .... Adult Joe Wenteworth
John Mazzello .... Simon Wenteworth
Directed by
Mark Steven Johnson
Writing credits
John Irving (I)
Mark Steven Johnson

     Simon Birch is a classic tale with a great little twist and I do mean little. Simon Birch is an 11-year old boy the size of a 5-year old. As he says it, he's a miracle. The smallest birth in his town. The movie starts out with Joe Wentworth (Jim Carrey), during recent times. He begins to tell us about Simon Birch. How Simon changed his life. Then we flash back too about 30 years earlier and we see Joe at about 12 years old. We meet him and his best friend Simon Birch. Simon is free spirit, feeling since he is a miracle he can say whatever he wants. He says whatever is on his mind, and usually it's funny but true. He's a special young boy who doesn't hide anything. He is a big believer in G-d, he goes to church every Sunday. His parents on the other hand feel punished by having him as a son. They are ashamed of him. That bothers Simon somewhat but not that much because he gets a lot of parental guidance from Joe's mom (Ashley Judd), Ms. Wentworth. She treats him as a son because that's what she thinks he needs. The reverend and the church schoolteacher think he is a menace because he disrupts church and class. He has ideas that people don't want to hear and that's why they're afraid of him.

    Simon thinks he's going to be a hero. He doesn't know when or what he's gonna do. He just thinks He'll be a hero. Oliver Platt plays Ms. Wentworth's boyfriend. Joe's a bastard child and his mother won't tell anyone who the father is. Platt is great as a drama professor who isn't there to get in with Joe's mom but also wants to help Joe and Simon. He's an all around nice guy. They’re when you need him. Then some things happen, I won't tell you what, but Simon starts to doubt his faith. He thinks his life is a waste. He needs guidance and no one can give it to him.

    All the parts in this film were casted very well. Ashley Judd played Ms. Wenteworth perfectly. She had the soft touch and that spark.  Her characther is the angel of Simon's life. A guiding light that is missing from his parents. She encourages him when he needs it. While she does this, she still has enough love for her son Joe. Everyone was in his or her right place. Unlike in Rounders, this movie had nothing missing. Young Simon was the glue of the movie and he was one of the best characters I've seen in a while. The characther development was exceptional especially for a movie geared toward children.

    Simon Birch is a great movie for kids and adults. I loved it. I thought it was very smart, touching and well done.  Like most good kid movies, it is a shame this movie will not do well in the box office. With a limited release, the movie will only be out for a few weeks and then disappear until coming to video. It is a shame that a good movie like this will lose money and dumber kids movies will make hundreds of millions. Hopefully, this movie will reach and audience and that audience will be smarter from seeing this movie. I really advise you to see this movie. I give it 3.5 stars.

Running Time: 113
PG for language, emotional thematic elements, and an accident scene.
Reviewed by:
Joe "Buscemifan" Soria

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