The Mighty (1998)


Based on the children’s book Freak The Mighty, Peter Chelsom’s less oddly named The Mighty tells the story of a remarkable friendship between two young boys, both outcasts.

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1998, Miramax. Directed by Peter Chelsom. Sharon Stone, Gillian Anderson, Meat Loaf.

Artistic/Entertainment Value

Moral/Spiritual Value


Age Appropriateness

Kids & Up*

MPAA Rating


Caveat Spectator

Brief violence, some menace and an instance of profanity.

Max (Elden Ratliff) is dull-witted but intimidating; Kevin (Kieran Culkin) is bright but crippled by Morquio’s Syndrome.

At first Max, a loner, is dubious about the relationship, but Kevin puts it this way: "Don’t think of it as a friendship, think of it as a business proposition. You need a brain, and I need legs — and the Wizard of Oz doesn’t live in South Cincinnati."

Kevin expands Max’s horizons by tutoring him in reading and writing and introducing him to imaginative literature; Max carries Kevin around on his shoulders and helps him face down bullies. Arthurian legend becomes a thematic motif as the boys collectively dub themselves Freak the Mighty, a quixotic crusader righting wrongs, saving damsels, and facing each boy’s fears.

This sensitive, sometimes rousing story about the value of friendship, imagination, reading, and courage benefits from a strong supporting cast including Sharon Stone, James Gandolfini, and Gillian Anderson. Here’s a family film, based on a children’s book, that’s more complex and nuanced than much supposedly more "mature" movie fare.

Broken Family Films, Drama, Family