Director: Shirley MacLaine
Time: 108 minutes
This is a family movie/comedy which stars and is directed by Shirley MacLaine. In fact, it is the only movie that she has directed. With this taken into consideration, I will admit that she did a very good job. The main character, Bruno Battaglio (Alex D. Linz) is picked on by bullies at the Catholic school that he attends. The bullies pick on him because he is smarter than them. It also doesn’t help that his mother(Stacey Halprin) is an overweight and over dramatic dress maker.
Bruno’s father (Gary Sinise) is a policeman who is the total opposite of his ex-wife. He does not express his emotions because as a child his mother (Shirley MacLaine) discouraged him. Mr. Sinise did an admirable job of portraying a man who had his dreams crushed, and who finds himself trying to crush his own son’s dreams. Kathy Bates portrays the Principal of the school who tries to also make Bruno conform to “normal” society.
Bruno is a very good speller and plans to compete in the National Spelling Bee. The main source of tension is when Bruno decides that it is unimportant what clothes a boy should wear because lots of famous men wore dresses, even the Pope.
The script was very well done as well as the acting and directing. Even though this is considered a comedy, there are scenes where the viewer should have some Kleenex near by. It presents a message about conformity and acceptance of others. If you have never heard or seen this movie, I highly recommend it. I give this film 5 stars.