seven year old genius boy capable of solving big problems yet tooyoung. Directed by Jodie Foster, the finely crafted movie expertlytells of little Fred Tate (Adam Hann) the main character as anexceptional child who is going through loneliness despite hisincredible abilities. Dede (Foster) is an important character in themovie as she is Fred’s mother while Jane (Diane Wiest) apsychologist also plays a great role in Fred’s young life. Parentsalways play a critical role in shaping the child’s growthespecially during middle childhood but in this case, Dede is too busyworking to notice the special gifts his son has. On the other hand,Jane a child psychologist realizes the unique abilities of Fred andwants to push him forward. This creates a tug of war for Fred.However, despite his abilities, Fred at some point no longer caresabout his uniqueness but only wants to have friends and findhappiness. Eddie is a male character who plays a great emotional rolein Fred’s life after spending one afternoon with him.
Winston, Garth, Gina, Damon (an adolescent math genius), Matt,Matt’s teammate, Miss Nimvel, clinic doctor, Barteneder, Griersoninstitute teacher, Joey X, Cherry, Bob, Fenton, Odyssey mind reader 1and 2, Valerie, Physics professor, Coral, Ray, Auctioneer, Sororitygirl, Eddie’s friend, Fred’s doctor, Eddies, girlfriend androommate, Preppy boy in cafeteria, Evan, livewire guest and live wireboy and make-up woman are the other useful characters in the film.
The portrayal and treatment of characters in the movie is amazing.Each character relates to the child (Fred) in a special ways andwalks in his life for a specific purpose. Fred is a brilliant actorwho keeps the audience glued to his character. He has nice qualitiesthat make him shy yet specially gifted at the same time. Hisrelationship with other characters also brings out a strongperformance making the movie original. Dede puts in a funny accentthat depicts her as somewhat apathetic mother. Jane is keen to detailand her ability to detect Fred’s gifts simply magnificent. Everyother character that interacts with Fred plays a significant role inhelping him realize his abilities with amazement. The film is amarvelous script that fosters drama and humor.
Certain developmental aspects influence the growth of children inmiddle childhood stages. Social development and character buildingare two major aspects that affect the development of children. Socialdevelopment involves the interaction of children and the society orthose around them (Berk 65). Little man Tate depicts how a giftedchild lacks a social life and suffers from loneliness. According toErikson’s theory, middle childhood is a stage where industry vsinferiority develops. Children at this age are school going and havemany opportunities provided for them. They learn to value division oflabor and develop a sense of moral commitment. They are also able todevelop competence skills as seen in the movie. Fred can solve mathproblems excellently, is a talented visual artist, an accomplishedpoet, classical pianist and physics wizard.
Parents and the school environment largely influence characterbuilding during middle childhood stage. Parents should help childrendevelop virtues, empathy, self-control and know their roles in thesociety. They should also be a good example and give childrenresponsibilities based on the child’s age, physical ability,strength and maturity. The absence of a parent in a child’s lifeduring middle childhood can lead to withdrawal and loneliness in achild. It may also weaken the child’s social life as evident in thefilm. At one point in the film, Fred’s separation from his mothertakes toll on him and he is unable to adjust with college studentstwice his age.
Middle childhood is a pivotal stage of every child’s development.For all rounded development to take place children, need emotional,social, physical and cognitive care (Lecture notes). All this willenhance the development of well-rounded children and adults. Littleman Tate explains all this clearly. It also brings out the concept ofparental support in helping children realize and develop theirtalents at a young age. Despite having, extraordinary gifts, childrenneed to have friends as they develop. Otherwise, they will sufferfrom loneliness and never experience a social life.
Berk, LauraE. Infants,Children, and Adolescents.Boston: Pearson /Allyn & Bacon, 2012. Print.
Class lecture notes