Rated: PG-13 Due to its intensity. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: December 30, 1992 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
A powerful script and remarkable performances, particularly by Susan Sarandon as Michaela Odone, the mother of a five-year-old son who is the victim of adrenokeukodystropy (ALD), an incurable illness, with no cure, provide a compelling serious drama about the dedication and relentlessness of two parents who won't give up on their child. However, with all the merit and respect the film deserves, it is not entertaining.
Sarandon deserves an Oscar nomination for her work and Nick Nolte is completely convincing as the father. Their work carries the straightforward plot, which is a quest to find the cause and then the cure for ALD, it is only carried by women, hence Michaela Odone is the carrier who passed the faulty gene onto her son. That fact drives her even beyond the compulsion her husband feels as they challenge the establishment and even the support groups which attempt to help. The mother is so compelled she borders on madness and has no acceptance for anyone who does not share her total commitment to her son.
The performances and script immerse the audience in the overall determination and the daily painful and obnoxious duties of caring for Lorenzo. The pain, hope and compulsion of the parents carry to the audience. The work is so well done and the emotions and pain are presented in such a raw and unpolished manner the audience suffers along with each setback.
This is a film which must be admired for its frankness and performances. At the same time, it has limited entertainment value.