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Little Man Tate (1991)

PG | | Drama | 1 November 1991 (USA)
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Fred Tate is a prodigy. He's also a lonely, little boy with the emotional needs that his single mom covers. Worries about world problems gives him ulcer. He takes a quantum physics summer college class at 7.

Director:

Jodie Foster

Writer:

Scott Frank
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jodie Foster ... Dede Tate
Alex Lee Alex Lee ... Fred Tate at 2
Adam Hann-Byrd ... Fred Tate
Michael Shulman ... Matt Montini
Nathan Lee Nathan Lee ... Matt's Teammate
Celia Weston ... Miss Nimvel
Danitra Vance ... Clinic Doctor
Dianne Wiest ... Jane Grierson
David Hyde Pierce ... Garth (as David Pierce)
Debi Mazar ... Gina
Richard Fredette Richard Fredette ... Bartender
George Plimpton ... Winston F. Buckner
Jennifer Trier Jennifer Trier ... Grierson Institute Teacher
P.J. Ochlan ... Damon Wells
John Bell John Bell ... Joey X
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Storyline

Dede is a sole parent trying to bring up her son Fred. When it is discovered that Fred is a genius, she is determined to ensure that Fred has all the opportunities that he needs, and that he is not taken advantage of by people who forget that his extremely powerful intellect is harboured in the body and emotions of a child. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not what he knows. It's what he understands.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mentes que brillan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$230,106, 11 October 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$25,010,896
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Damon calls Fred a 'lepton', and Fred later applies the term to his mother. A lepton is an elementary particle of which two main classes exist - charged leptons and neutral leptons (also known as neutrinos). See more »

Goofs

Continuity: When Fred is on the five-day trip with Jane, he goes into her office at her home, leaving the sliding door open, and the light outside the room is on (39:22). After returning a book and speaking with Miss Grierson about photos of her parents, he starts toward the door to leave, and the light is off (41:09). Then, in a longer shot of Fred sliding the door closed, it's back on again (41:14). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Fred Tate: It's funny, cause I *think* I can even remember being born. For the first two weeks of my life I didn't even have a name. Dede couldn't make up her mind. She finally decided on Fred. She said that she had never heard of a little kid named Fred before.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 70th Golden Globe Awards (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Mozart's String Quartet No 21, D Major, KV575
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart)
Performed by Alban Berg Quartett
Courtesy of Teldec Classics International GmbH
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Through the Eyes of a Child...
31 December 2004 | by bobjaxonSee all my reviews

I've long been a fan of Jodie Foster's acting, and upon my first viewing of "Little Man Tate", I can now say I'm a fan of her directorial talents as well.

The story is of Fred Tate, son of single mother Dede. It's found that, at the age of 2, Fred can already read the print on the bottom of a dinner plate. Dede, and the rest of the world, realize that Fred is a genius, but Dede is determined that Fred, while given ever opportunity to expand his gift, is not exploited by the well meaning, but pretentious head mistress of a school for gifted children, Jane Grierson, portrayed by the outstanding actress Dianne Wiest.

The story's told, mainly, through the eyes of Fred; however, we also see the viewpoints of Dede & Jane who each feel that she alone has Fred's best interests at heart. We are given tremendous insight into how Fred sees and relates to the world around him. He has the understanding that's beyond most adults but only the emotional experience of his 7 years of life.

Through Fred, we can see that the academic world of gifted children isn't just filled with the nice, polite, precocious, bespectacled children that we are often shown on news magazines or public television programs. We are allowed to see that some are as outright rude and pretentious as the adults who claim to be only nurturing their gifts.

In her feature-film directorial debut, Foster is able to capture the world as Fred sees it. She's able still allow us to see Fred as the youngster he is. Fred's intellect isn't the basis of the story, just one element in it. She lets the story do the work, and she let's the character's tell the tale. She allows the characters to be real people not just the stereotypes that so often are found in films dealing with this subject matter.

Jodie Foster's only directed two films since this one ("Home For The Holidays"-1995 & "Flora Plum"-2005), and I've seen "Home For The Holidays" which I also feel was very well done. It seems that Ms. Foster is being very careful in picking her projects, much like the late Stanley Kubrick did. I only hope her unique talents are recognized and she's given more green lights for future projects.


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