Erik (Brad Renfro) is a 13-year-old boy whose single mother, Gail (Diana Scarwid), has just moved to a new home in Minnesota. Erik feels like a fish out of water with his Southern accent, and he has trouble making friends until he meets Dexter (Joseph Mazzello), a kid a year or two younger who lives next door. Erik and Dexter get along fine, but Gail tells Erik not to go near Dexter when she learns that he contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion a few years ago. Erik ignores his mother's instructions and stands up for the frail Dexter at school, while Dexter's mom Linda (Annabella Sciorra) gives Erik the warmth, affection, and home cooking that Gail is too busy to provide. However, both boys are painfully aware of Dexter's illness, and when one of them spots a headline in a supermarket tabloid that a doctor in New Orleans has discovered a cure for AIDS, they run away together, determined to find the doctor and bring Dexter back as good as new. The Cure was the theatrical feature debut for actor-turned-director Peter Horton, who cut his directorial teeth on the TV series The Wonder Years and thirtysomething.