Starring: Jodie Foster, Diane Wiest, Adam Hann-Byrd
Release Date: Oct. 18, 1991 (USA)
Running Time: 99 min
Commentary Little Man Tate is a delightful film about a 7-year-old boy genius named Fred Tate (Hann-Byrd). The film explores the tension between Fred's amazing intellect and his less developed emotional state, which is that of a 7-year-old boy. The acting is superb, especially that of Adam Hann-Byrd.
Fred Tate (Hann-Byrd) is a 7-year-old boy genius with a single mom named Dede (Foster) who works as a waitress. Meanwhile, a woman named Dr. Jane Grierson (Wiest), who directs a program for gifted children and was herself a childhood prodigy, wants Fred to join her program. Reluctantly at first, Dede agrees to enroll Fred in the program. Eventually she even agrees to let him go to college for the summer and live with Jane, but things don't go as planned, as it turns out that Fred really needs to be with his mom.
Social Relevance I think Little Man Tate paints a rather realistic picture of the life of a childhood prodigy. Much like Tate, I was a mathematical genius as a child and also had some severe emotional problems. I know firsthand what it's like to be alienated by my peers, as was Tate, as well as the tension between emotional and intellectual needs. What Tate really needs, and what he eventually gets, is the love which only his mother could provide for him. He also needs intellectual stimulation and a positive atmosphere to explore his genius, but this need turns out to be secondary.