Radio Flyer (1992)
Two brothers are the victims of their widowed mother's violent drunkard husband who spares no rod with the youngest brother. Reverting to a world of make-believe, they imagine that their Radio Flyer wagon can fly and that in it they can escape their tormenting stepfather. This film deals in an almost make-believe manner with the serious issue of child abuse. ~ Rovi
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Critic Reviews for Radio Flyer
Donner and Evans can't find a way to extricate themselves from the impossible structure they have erected. They remain locked into the odd combination of the dreamy and the dreadful that is entirely of their own devising.
A very odd, expensive, ambitious failure that tries hard to achieve the Spielberg touch but succeeds only in reminding you of how few filmmakers can successfully lay claim to his territory.
Radio Flyer is a well-meaning failure, a muddled fantasy about child abuse that ponderously attempts to combine the grace of legend with the earnestness of a public-service announcement.
A movie is not a public-service announcement, and a movie that tries to squeak by on intentions doesn't generally doesn't get very far. Viewed from any normal perspective, Radio Flyer never takes off.
If nothing else, Radio Flyer is an original: The first feel-good movie about child abuse.
You can't help but feel that Radio Flyer must have looked a lot better on script than on screen.
The movie's ultimate reliance on wish-fulfillment is downright irresponsible.
It's the kind of story that could have soared in the hands of a visionary director like Terry Gilliam, but becomes strangely earthbound under the direction of Richard Donner.
What you get in Radio Flyer is an unholy brew of whimsy and blasphemy. It flits from the unwatchable to the unbelievable, with nary a pause between them and the effect, to say the least, is unsettling.
One of the most touching films ever made. A must-see
The resulting film is like a travesty of a Spielberg paean to childhood innocence -- an uplifting fantasy about child abuse and suicide.
A bittersweet and underrated drama.
Equal parts sappy and sincere.
Embarrassing, sentimental crap.
Audience Reviews for Radio Flyer
"Powered by imagination."
A father recounts a dark period of his childhood when he and his little brother lived in the suburbs.
Not much material nearly grounds "Radio Flyer" pretty quick, but in the end the film is somewhat enjoyable and almost becomes one of the biggest surprises of the 1990s. Tom Hanks tells his two young sons about a dark time when he (Elijah Wood in the flashbacks) and younger brother Joseph Mazzello moved to the suburbs in California with mother Lorraine Bracco. Almost immediately she meets trouble-maker Adam Baldwin (his face barely seen throughout the film) and marries him. It is crystal clear that Baldwin is a child abuser, always choosing Mazzello as his target. A plan develops very quickly by the two youngsters to turn Mazzello's new wagon into a flying machine so he can get away from Baldwin's abuse. The film has many holes in it, but it still remains interesting nonetheless. Co-directors Richard Donner and David M. Evans almost turn the movie into a whimsical fantasy and I am not sure that was a good thing. It also seems that a lot of trouble went into Wood and Mazzello's plan when it would have been so much easier to go to their mother or local police officer John Heard and explain the situation. The film-makers wanted to show the movie through a child's point-of-view ala "E.T.---The Extra-Terrestrial", but a truly gifted director like Steven Spielberg is one of the few people that could pull that off successfully. "Radio Flyer" is above average and still pretty good in spite of numerous shortcomings. Ben Johnson adds an endearing cameo and really should have had a little more airtime.
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