The Mighty review

Cast against clothes-off, shag-'em-senseless type as the mother of a crippled boy, Sharon Stone gives a strong, emotional performance in The Mighty, a surprisingly enjoyable kid-pitched buddy movie.

The imaginative, heart-string tugger with a sharp, fantastic edge unfurls the story of a boy genius (Kieran Culkin) who suffers from a degenerative bone disease. Dubbed "Freak" by the local kids, he forms a close friendship with Max Kane (Elden Ratliff), a slow-witted giant who offers to carry the crippled Freak around on his shoulders. The boys inhabit their own private, Arthurian dreamscape (Max carries Freak around on his shoulders like a horse bearing his knight), embarking on an adventure-filled tale of friendship, rites of passage and redemption.

The Mighty is an impeccably acted kids film, make no mistake about it - respectful nods go out to child stars Culkin and Ratliff. Like a teenage Of Mice And Men, the clever, short one befriends the tall, hulking dolt - it's far above the usual teen fluff, and doesn't patronise or try to force its narrative into a special effects-tweaked action template. Moving and emotional, The Mighty is more than just a fairytale story about two oddball kids from Cincinatti. It's fun, has a message, and might even leave you with a tear in your eye. Sod Star Kids and kangaroo warriors - this is proper storytelling.

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