Simon Birch

Cast
Simon Birch: Ian Michael Smith
Joe Wenteworth: Joseph Mazzello
Rebecca Wenteworth: Ashley Judd
Ben Goodrich: Oliver Platt
The Rev. Russell: David Strathairn

Written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Suggested by the novel “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving. Running time: 110 minutes. Rated PG (for language, emotional thematic elements, and an accident scene).

Central Theme
There is a God who has a purpose for your life. Be patient, have faith and you will discover it.

Story
Born the size of a human hand, Simon Birch’s parents were told that he wouldn’t live through the week.Then the month. Then the year. Twelve years later, Simon is still alive, and still incredibly undersized due to his Morquio Syndrome, a disorder that causes Dwarfism. He constantly reminds his best friend Joe that God has a special plan for him. Meanwhile, Joe spends his time closed off from his mother’s new suitors, preoccupied with the knowledge that he has never been told who his real father is. When fate intervenes in the form of a foul ball during a little league game, Joe understands that he will never learn the truth; unless Simon is right about there being a purpose for everything, that is. A hopeful, heartwarming tale that the whole family can enjoy. Based on John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany.‚© Hollywood Pictures.

A sweet film that explores Gods purposes, through the lives of two boys, one with Morquio Syndrome, a disorder that causes Dwarfism, and the other who is the bastard son of a mother who dies in a tragic accident. The church is dutifully cold an unloving towards the young Simon whose family is irreligious and who is possesses an inexplicable confidence about his own destiny.

The Christmas pageant is an irreverent disaster, but not a far-fetched rendition of what happens in small churches nationwide every year.

Beliefs num
–There is a God.
–God has a purpose for everyone and everything.
–It takes faith and patience to discover your personal destiny.
¢€œThe church will not always encourage you in your pursuit of God’s plan for your life.
–Young people think theologically.
–Young friends shape each other’s understanding of God.
–People who are different are welcome in God’s family.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us about who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Does God have a purpose for everyone and everything?
–Can you find a purpose without faith or does faith ¢â‚¬Ëœcreate” a destiny for you?

Provocative Quotes byline
–He is the reason I believe in God. What faith I have I owe to Simon. It is Simon that made me a believer.
==Joe as adult.
–She means cute like a baby turtle is cute. Girls don’t kiss baby turtles.” How do you know, asks Joe. “I just know. If you were me, you’d know, too.
==S.B to Joe when Marjorie says he is cute.
–Things will be different once God makes me a hero¢â‚¬¦I don’t need proof. I have faith.
==S.B.
–Maybe God sent him to be your father. God has a plan for everybody, even Mr. Ben Goodrich.
==S.B. to Joe.
— What do coffee and donuts have to do with God? Whoever said the church needs a continental breakfast? I doubt if God is interested in our church activities. If God has made the bake sale a priority, we’re all in a lot of trouble.
==S.B.’s reaction to the church fundraiser.
–Your parents don’t go to church. That’s because they don’t belong¢â‚¬¦and neither do you.
==Sunday School teacher to S.B.
–I’m sorry Joe. It was out of my hands. I’m God’s instrument. There are no accidents. God has a plan for all of us.
==S.B. after death of Joe’s mom.
–There is no plan. There is no God. It’s like believing in Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. Stop trying to make sense of it all. You can’t.
==Joe.
–Did she tell you about my destiny? I’m going to be a hero. I don’t know how. I keep waiting for God to give me a sign¢â‚¬¦like the burning bush or the 10 commandments. I’ve been patient, but I’m running out of time.
==S.B. to Ben
–How could we have known everything was working together for a reason?
==Joe.
–Does God have a plan for us? I think God made me the way I am for a reason. I think I’m God’s instrument¢â‚¬¦that he’s going to use me to carry out his plan.
==S.B.
–It’s wonderful to have faith Simon, but let’s not get carried away.
==Pastor.
–Simon. What I’m trying to say is that all of us around here need a break from you¢â‚¬¦once this all settles down and Marjorie Albright’s father accepts your apology. We’ll talk about your coming back.
==Pastor to S.B. after Xmas Pageant fiasco.
–I want to know that there is a reason for things. I want to be certain¢â‚¬¦but now I am not so sure. I want you to tell me that God has a plan for me¢â‚¬¦a plan for all of us¢â‚¬¦Please.
==S.B. to Pastor.
–Simon¢â‚¬¦I can’t.
==Pastor to S.B.
–I was thinking. Maybe this was your destiny¢â‚¬¦to help me find my father.
==Joe to S.B.
–Are the kids OK? They all made it? Did you see the way the kids all listened to me because of the way I look? That window was just my size. That was 200 Mississippi¢â‚¬¦Promise you’ll take my baseball cards. Joe. Gotta go now.
==S.B.
–Ben Goodrich legally adopted me just two days before my 13th birthday, Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for bringing him into my life. With Simon’s help I finally found my real father.
==Joe.
–There is a prayer I say for Simon Birch. It’s the same prayer he said at my mother’s grave that night I found him in the darkness¢â‚¬¦Into paradise may the angels lead you.
==Joe.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in May 18, 1998 by | No Comments »

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