Submitted by Julio M

2 votes 3.5

Short pooper:
Fred’s (Adam Hann-Byrd) failed television appearance brings about a catharsis between him and his mother Dede (Jodie Foster), and he eventually comes to find a much-needed balance in his life between being a prodigy and a happy, well-adjusted person.

Longer version:
The mounting pressure Fred feels both from being away from his mother and friends -they are all vacationing at Disney World, for the summer- and attending advanced University courses while staying at the house of -and being studied by- Jane (Dianne Wiest) is somewhat alleviated as he accidentally crosses the path of a kind young adult student named Eddie (Harry Connick Jr.), when the latter hits him in the head with a globe. Fred enjoys being around Eddie, even though he takes the kid to activities such as shooting pool, more than anything for the fact that, despite the age gap, Eddie is an intellectually average guy and acts with him like what seems to be a surrogate older brother. This is short-lived, however, when Fred comes visiting and interrupts Eddie’s fling with a woman. He dejectedly runs off when Eddie, annoyed by the woman’s reaction, sends him off, but, then, Eddie tries to excuse himself by explaining that “he cannot be Fred’s babysitter all the time and Fred needs to find friends closer to his age”. Fred finds himself isolated and nightmare-driven once again.

Jane is asked to bring Fred for a live TV appearance in a panel where gifted children will be the topic of discussion, as an example. As Jane preps him up, she clumsily starts asking scientific questions to which he, already feeling the toll of his loneliness, rebuffs in a somewhat crude way. Matters come to a head when, in the middle of the broadcast -which is witnessed by Dede and company on national TV-, Fred just claims “he brings in the mail” as his biggest achievement, announces “his mother is dead” and recites a very simple poem from one of his 2nd grade classmates, after which he runs off, much to Jane’s embarrassment and Dede’s anguished shock.

Dede immediately flies back to New York and reacquaints with Fred, apologizing and reassuring her love for her son. He, in turn, instead of addressing her as Dede -as he was used to-, calls her “MOM”, for the first time. Jane, who, at first, was worried that she had lost Fred, catches up with the duo at their place and decides to just leave them be.

In voiceover, Fred talks about how, a year later, he is seen turning 8 and celebrating a birthday party massively attended by school mates, friends and relatives -including Jane, who made amends with him and Dede and learned to treat him like a normal child, and even fellow genius Damon (P.J. Ochlan), who is seen having a goofy, jolly good time-, indicating that he was finally being able to reconcile his emotional development with his natural genius. He also mentions how, for a while, he was the biggest celebrity of Jane’s institution until a 6-year-old named Roy Yamaguchi became a Law undergraduate and drew everyone’s attention away from him, yet, as he says “he no longer cared, because he was happy”.

01 hours 39 minutes