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With: Jodie Foster, Dianne Wiest, Adam Hann-Byrd, Harry Connick Jr.; David Pierce, Debi Mazar, Josh Mostel, Danitra Vance, George Plimpton, Bob Balaban
Written by: Scott Frank
Directed by: Jodie Foster
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 99
Date: 09/06/1991

Little Man Tate (1991)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Two-time Oscar winner for Best Actress Jodie Foster embarked upon her directorial career at age 28 with Little Man Tate, the story of a gifted child torn between his sloppy and creative mother (Foster) and his rigid new teacher (Dianne Wiest). The film looks like a treacly made-for-TV movie, but it plays better than it looks. Home for the Holidays on the other hand, is a new cult classic that has gained a respectable audience on home video. It's a wonderful, big-hearted, messy Thanksgiving story with poor Holly Hunter suffering the worst holiday of her life. Though the great cast is all exceptional, Robert Downey Jr. especially shines as Hunter's care-free brother.

What really makes these discs special, though, is Foster's outstanding new commentary tracks. She really opens up and records a personal diary of her experiences as a director, talking about her lack of experience on Little Man Tate and her views on family relations on Home for the Holidays. The best DVD commentaries I've heard so far have all been funny, but this is the first time I've been moved by a track's honesty. It helps that Foster is also a gifted actress and really knows how to sell herself, but this is the real thing. I highly recommend both discs.

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