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Customer Review

194 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars living inside one's own heart, April 22, 2003
This review is from: Sling Blade (DVD)
With the parodies and jokes surrounding the lead character of this film stating, "I like the way you talk," I was not expecting this film to be anything I'd be impressed with. Boy, was I wrong. This a fantastic film.
Billy Bob Thornton plays Karl Childers, a man about to be released from a mental hospital after staying there for 30 years. Karl killed his own mother and her lover when he was only about 12 years old and you wonder from the beginning of this film - why are they letting him out?
Some people call him slow, some people say he's retarded - but as each scene comes and goes, you realize that there is a lot more going on inside Karl's head than anyone else believes.
While autism is not mentioned by name in the film, it's obvious that this character was modeled after an autistic person. He does not maintain eye contact and rarely exhibits emotion or speaks.
He returns to his childhood hometown after being released from the hospital and puts his mechanical skills to good use as a small engine wiz at a local mechanic shop.
He befriends Frank (Lucas Black), a young boy who reminds Karl of the kind of life he could have had, if he had only had different parents. Frank's mother has a psycho for a boyfriend (masterfully played by Dwight Yoakum) who treats Frank and his mother like garbage and threatens to kill them if the relationship ever ends.
Small town folks have big hearts, but sometimes small minds. Frank's mother (Natalie Camerday) has a best friend who is gay (well acted by John Ritter) and he must hide his relationships from the townsfolk. Her friend Vaughn wants to go to a a bigger city with wider acceptance of his lifestyle, but he continues to stay to act as a guardian angel for his friend and her son.
As Karl meets and interacts with the new friends (and enemies) he meets, he reveals some of his darker secrets with his friend, Frank. While he shows almost no emotion, Karl's story evokes tears from all but the most stony-hearted viewer. He not only feels great pain of what he has experienced and what he has done, he feels great empathy for Frank and his mother and holds their friendship dear to his heart.
There is violence in the film, but the most violent of scenes is just audible - nothing is seen, just heard. This film is too intense for young viewers, but teenagers should have no problem with it.
This film really makes you think - about what goes on in the minds of those who are mentally different in any way - and how all emotions are universal.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 21, 2010 5:43:33 PM PDT
One of my favorite films of all time....I would have written the exact same words as "Geek" for an accurate review~

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2010 6:39:43 PM PDT
Thanks. :-)

Posted on Apr 28, 2011 5:03:34 AM PDT
MYAH MESHEE says:
Film reviews shouldn't tell every aspect of the movie. After reading this, the movie will not be enjoyable because the entire commentation was placed here as a review. The worse thing in the world to do to movie buffs, is to tell them the story before they can see the movie! REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2011 2:54:55 PM PDT
Well actually, no - this is not a spoiler. The vast majority of info in this review (the details) that I wrote over 8 years ago, is covered in the first 5 minutes of the movie. Maybe if you actually watch the film, you'll see that this is in no way giving away the story.

Roger Ebert, a well-known syndicated movie reviewer, provides the same details I have - find out what a movie review is before you over-react:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19961129/REVIEWS/611290306/1023

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2014 8:46:51 PM PST
Seriously, though, come off your pretentious, hipster high horse. No one cares what you think

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2016 12:54:16 PM PDT
Don't be rude, Sheldon.
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