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Simon Birch

( 13 )

Overview

This comedy-drama features a narration by Jim Carrey, looking back to childhood in a manner similar to the narration on TV's The Wonder Years. The film is the directorial debut of writer Mark Steven Johnson, scripter of Grumpy Old Men and its sequel. Johnson adapted only a small portion of John Irving's 600-page novel A Prayer for Owen Meany 1989, but Irving requested a credit other than "based on" and also asked that the character name of Owen Meany be changed. So Owen became Simon Birch -- which then required a...
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Overview

This comedy-drama features a narration by Jim Carrey, looking back to childhood in a manner similar to the narration on TV's The Wonder Years. The film is the directorial debut of writer Mark Steven Johnson, scripter of Grumpy Old Men and its sequel. Johnson adapted only a small portion of John Irving's 600-page novel A Prayer for Owen Meany 1989, but Irving requested a credit other than "based on" and also asked that the character name of Owen Meany be changed. So Owen became Simon Birch -- which then required a title change. In the title role is 11-year-old Ian Michael Smith, who is afflicted with Morquio's syndrome, a genetic disorder which causes dwarfism. The story begins when Joe Wenteworth Jim Carrey visits the grave of his childhood friend Simon Birch, whose stone is marked 1952-64. Joe explains that Simon is "the reason I believe in God." This is followed by a flashback to their friendship during the early '60s. In Gravestown, New Hampshire, young Joe Wenteworth Joseph Mazzello doesn't know who his father is, and his loving mother Rebecca Ashley Judd won't tell him. Joe's best buddy is young Simon Birch, born so tiny that his classmates pass him about like a "doll." Neglected at home, Simon turns to Rebecca as a surrogate mother, and he often has dinner with the Wenteworths. One night, Rebecca brings her friend Ben Goodrich Oliver Platt home for dinner, which annoys her crotchety mother Dana Ivey. Later, the lives of the two 12-year-olds receive a cruel twist, and the two then become more curious to learn the secret of Joe's father. Shown in competition at the 1998 Montreal Film Festival.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/2/1999
  • UPC: 786936091458
  • Original Release: 1998
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ian Michael Smith Simon Birch
Joseph Mazzello Joe Wenteworth
Ashley Judd Rebecca Wenteworth
Oliver Platt Ben Goodrich
David Strathairn Reverend Russell
Dana Ivey Grandmother Wenteworth
Beatrice Winde Hilde Grove
Jan Hooks Miss Leavey
Cecilley Carroll Marjorie
Sumela-Rose Keramidopulos Ann
Sam Morton Stuart
Jim Carrey Adult Joe Wenteworth
Technical Credits
Mark Steven Johnson Director, Screenwriter
Billy Higgins Co-producer
Roger Birnbaum Producer
David Chapman Production Designer
Dennis Davenport Art Director
Laurence Mark Producer
Marc Shaiman Score Composer
Howard Ellis Associate Producer, Asst. Director
John Baldecchi Executive Producer
Barbara Cohen Casting
Mary Gail Artz Casting
Glen Gauthier Sound/Sound Designer
Aaron Schneider Cinematographer
Betsy Heimann Costumes/Costume Designer, Editor
Carolyn A. Loucks Set Decoration/Design
Abram Waterhouse Costumes/Costume Designer
John Irving Source Author
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    2nd Rate Translation of "...Owen Meaney"

    This movie is very loosely based on John Irving's delectable novel "A Prayer for Owen Meaney" and takes an incredible, layered, extraordinary work and reduces it to cutsey sight gags and manipulative platitudes. Everyone who saw this film and liked it, I feel it's safe to say, was lured in and charmed by the diminutive star into thinking the film was better than it actually was, since it seems cruel to down a film whose star is handicapped, for fear of confusing criticism of the film with criticism of the person. My advice is read the novel by John Irving and then come back to the film and see if you still think it's so great. I think you'll agree that the film doesn't even scratch the surface of the themes and content of the novel. It would have been better to have made a mini series in order to encompass the book since this film contains a fraction of what is contained there. I felt the same disappointment with the film adaptation of "Starship Troopers". There is another example where instead of making a deep, challenging, intelligent film based on a deep, challenging and intelligent novel, which is no less than it deserved, Verhoeven instead decided to take one small piece of the novel, and not even the most important piece, and blew it up to movie lenght leading one who hadn't read the novel to believe that that was all the novel was about, the bug wars, when in fact that element was rather small and only served to illustrate the novel's grander themes, i.e., what is freedom? What are the rights and responsibilities of "true" citizenship? Etc...Like ST, Simon Birch was a huge disappointment. I knew a big studio production would be, because Irving's novel as is, is not commercial. Still, this film failed even more miserably than even I expected.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    amazing movie

    this movie has a great story line to it. i thought it was very emotional at times and especially at the end i started to cry and feel sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing

    this is one of the best movies. i cried i laughed. this movie has something for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES ALIVE

    this movie is funny at times and sad at others it put my in awe alot so i reccoment this movie to any one regaurdless of age

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A heartfelt movie to help youngsters deal with loss

    Simon Birch is a wonderful movie that depicts how children deal with loss of loved ones, and it shows how one can overcome adversity. All can benefit from the example that 'Simon' shows us in the film, God truly does have a plan for us all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    TRULY HEART WARMING

    SIMON BIRCH WAS FUNNY,HEART WRENCHING EVERYTHING I LOVE IN A MOVIE.WHAT MY HUSBAND WOULD CALL A CHICK FLICK BUT IT'S A MOVIE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY TO SEE AND OWN.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2003

    Amazing

    This movie is the best that I've seen in my ten year life! People from birth to death would love this movie!! If I could, I would give it unlimited stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A MUST-SEE FOR EVERYONE (REGARDLESS OF AGE!)

    THE FIRST TIME I SAW THIS MOVIE, I LAUGHED, CRIED AND WAS IN AWE. I IMMEDIATELY WENT OUT AND BOUGHT IT. IT HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE--REGARDLESS OF AGE. CHILDREN LOVE IT AS WELL AS ADULTS--IT HAS WONDERFUL SPIRITUAL MESSAGES. I HAVE RECOMMENDED IT TO MORE THAN 15 PEOPLE AND EVERYONE LOVES IT.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Beautiful, simply beautiful!

    Perfect casting and great acting across the board. Touching and flat out amazing!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Classic Tale of Heroism

    You will laugh and cry during this charming tale of young friendship. Simon Birch is a great the whole family will cherish. Two thumbs up; a must-own movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews