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Radio (2003)


Average Rating: 5/10
Reviews Counted: 117
Fresh: 42
Rotten: 75

Critics Consensus: The story is heavy on syrupy uplift and turns Radio into a saint/cuddly pet.

Average Rating: 4.8/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 9
Rotten: 25

Critics Consensus: The story is heavy on syrupy uplift and turns Radio into a saint/cuddly pet.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 170,432


Movie Info

James Robert Kennedy--nicknamed 'Radio' because of his vintage radio collection and his love of music--is a loner in Anderson, South Carolina, pushing his ever-present grocery cart up and down the streets. He speaks to no one and is rarely spoken to, until one day, Coach Harold Jones, one of the town's most respected men, and coach of the popular high school football team, befriends him. Radio is suspicious at first. But Coach Jones is persistent, even enlisting the help of Radio's mother. … More

PG (for mild language and thematic elements)
Directed By:
Written By:
Mike Rich
In Theaters:
Jan 27, 2004
Box Office:
Sony Pictures Entertainment - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Radio

All Critics (125) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (75) | DVD (23)

Based-on- a-true-story kitschfest.

Full Review… | October 28, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

[Y]et another movie that takes a mentally challenged character and turns him into this kind of deity, this saint-like mascot who everybody else learns life lessons from.

Full Review… | October 27, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Gooding once again embarrasses himself in public with a performance that knows no shame, a habit he's getting frighteningly at ease with these days.

October 24, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

A train wreck of a film lying inert where the tracks of the Feel Good Line cross the Path of Good Intentions.

October 24, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Though probably well-intentioned, Radio comes off as manipulative of its audience and exploitative of the mentally challenged.

Full Review… | October 24, 2003
USA Today
Top Critic

Rarely have good intentions been wrapped in such a sticky package.

Full Review… | October 24, 2003
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Lesson of kindness permeates inspiring true story.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

Despite the fine efforts of Harris and Gooding, Jr., Radio nearly drowns in James Horner's overbearingly sentimental music.

September 6, 2007
Christianity Today

Awful from start to finish.

Full Review… | January 11, 2006

The screenwriter seems obsessed with introducing dramatic conflict, which feels both strained and convenient.

Full Review… | April 18, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Tune in for another formulaic feel-good story that will warm your heart and chill your mind.

Full Review… | February 27, 2004

Feigns compassion for the mentally challenged, but treats Radio as a pet, a toy, a prop.

Full Review… | January 15, 2004

As the principal says, "I'm not sure we're trying to help someone here, or whether you're using him as a glorified mascot." Exactly.

Full Review… | November 30, 2003
Film Snobs

this puts Cuba back into the Oscar race again, he's charming and wonderful -- although he plays a slow guy, which is surefire Oscar fodder

Full Review… | November 25, 2003

This is the first time in 16 years I made additions to a movie review after I read other critics' reviews. I'm doing this not to change my stance, but to defend it.

Full Review… | November 17, 2003
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Underneath the sugary sweet external coating of Radio is a cynical and pandering piece of hypocrisy.

Full Review… | November 9, 2003
Mark Reviews Movies

Gooding is never allowed to play a three-dimensional character but rather ... human currency to be handed around whenever a character needs his or her consciousness raised.

November 4, 2003
Creative Loafing

Feel-good themes and fine performances from Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Ed Harris make Radio a nice pre-holiday film.

Full Review… | November 4, 2003

Like its title character, Radio broadcasts at a low, pleasant frequency.

Full Review… | November 3, 2003
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Harris puts in a believable and focused performance.

Full Review… | October 30, 2003
Talking Pictures (U.S.)

In his best role since Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. delivers a mannered performance performance where other actors have opted for tics and exaggerated shouting.

Full Review… | October 30, 2003

It's a nice story, and it does feel good, but it's too formulaic and syrupy

Full Review… | October 29, 2003
Movie Habit

If this movie was a tree in Vermont, it'd have a tap driven into it and be sporting a bucket to catch the sap.

Full Review… | October 29, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A film many people may be tempted to laugh off as button pushing feel-good fluff. Before doing so, they might want to ask themselves just what it is they find so funny about a little peace, love and understanding.

Full Review… | October 28, 2003
Film Threat

Radio features Gooding, Jr. in a performance more akin to Justin Bartha in Gigli than Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

Full Review… | October 28, 2003
Premiere Magazine

Unlike most sports movies, it celebrates humanity and avoids clichés.

Full Review… | October 28, 2003
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for Radio


How they took a story that is inherently so moving and turned it into a jumbled, lifeless mess is beyond my comprehension. It's as if they let the real life Radio write and direct the film.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


Radio is yet another in a long list of feel good movies. But I believe that this is the best feel good movie since October Sky. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris deliver strong performances here. Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays Robert "Radio" Kennedy a young man with mental problems, and Ed Harris portrays Coach Jones, the coach of the local High School who befriends Radio after Jones's team terrorizes him. Radio At first doesn't open up, but after a while he warms up to Coach Jones. However this friendship is hard because of the obvious mental issues that Radio has. Radio is said to be a distraction by many of the parents, and teachers. However Coach Jones ignores this, and defies what some parents say, and he builds a strong friendship with Radio. The film has all the usual feel good traits of a feel good movie, and is the type of film that you can watch with the entire family and enjoy it for what it is. A very moving stoiry, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris performances are believable enough and the rest of the cast do a good job acting alongside Harris and Gooding Jr. Radio mixes elements of a feel good film with sports drama, and theres nothing here that you can't hate. The film is not perfect of course, I mean it's a film we've seen a hundred times before, but Radio is still a good enough film to provide you with two hours of good family entertainment. Radio is a powerful film about what it truly means to be human, and how some situations can bring out the best out of people. A well done film that is a must see, not the best ever made, but definitely a film to watch and make you feel good.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

This is quite a powerful film.
Cuba Gooding Jr. turns in a brilliant performance as the mentally challenged loner James Robert Kennedy nicknamed "Radio" due to his vintage radio collection in which one is always in his hand playing music he loves, and gives a "score" to his lonely existence of pushing a grocery cart up and down the streets of a South Carolina town.
Ed Harris is brilliant as usual as the town's popular high school football team coach who takes an interest in Radio upon seeing him watching a practice session. His friendship and concern for Radio develops into something that means much more than football to the very well respected coach, Harold Jones.
Jones allows Radio to be part of the team's practices and games on the sidelines, and sit in on his classes in school which opens up a whole new world for James(Radio), and essentially gives him a life that he is in dire need of.

Eric S

Super Reviewer

This movie is based on a true story and that makes it even more amazing. I loved this movie. It was funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking too. This has to be my favorite movie with Cuba Gooding Jr. He did such an amazing job, his best work yet. This movie gives a lot to learn from. How we should and shouldn't treat others, how to be compassionate for other human beings, and just to help others in their time of need. The coach was inspiring. Great movie and a great story. Definitely touches the heart.


Super Reviewer

Radio Quotes

James Robert "Radio" Kennedy:
Where's my pie!?
– Submitted by Patrick G (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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