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Little Man Tate Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Little Man Tate keeps introducing characters and narrative lines that seem promising, but it doesn’t sustain them. The movie feels like three Afterschool Specials welded together.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    As directed by Ms. Foster, the film has a kind of purity of purpose and control that is very rare in mass-market movies. It avoids a lot of sentimental nonsense. It is also sparely (and well-) written by Scott Frank.

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  • 70

    out of 100


    Filled with small, telling moments rather than big events, film never really gets inside Fred’s head, but it neatly sketches the external aspects of his predicament.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Little Man Tate is the kind of movie you enjoy watching; it's about interesting people finding out about themselves.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Moving story of a smart boy and protective mom.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie might have a child as the lead character, but it deals with mature themes. A single mom tells her son he had no father, that he was a miracle. A young boy's isolation and anxiety might distress sensitive audiences, while his social exclusion at school will resonate with those who have experienced the difficulties of fitting-in. A college student takes a young boy to a pool-hall where people are drinking and smoking, and later is seen semi-naked in bed with a young woman. There are scenes of social anxiety, including a television appearance and a party, and multiple references to the stress-induced ulcers suffered by a child. There are three accidents involving children, all of which result in adult/medical attention. A character smokes and drinks in private. Several scenes have name-calling and profanity.

  • Families can talk about how the relationship between Fred and Dede changes over the movie: What makes the characters lose or gain confidence? Fred is portrayed as a very rare sort of genius, one who excels at everything he touches but who also feels things very deeply. How does he relate to other kids? The character of the "mathemagician" says that without Jane and the academic approval she brings, he would just be "another creep in a cape." How does he differ from Fred? Parents might wish to discuss the broader theme of accepting people different from themselves.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Name calling and exclusion of character. Bright kids are excluded for being different.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Three non-explicit accidents knock kids unconscious and necessitate medical attention.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Very brief, non-explicit scene of undressed couple lounging in bed together.

  • language false3

    Language: Strong language and name-calling.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Barroom drinking, mother smokes and drinks to relax,