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MASK, 1985
Movie Review

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MASK, 1985
Movie Review
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Starring: Eric Stoltz, Cher, Sam Elliot
Review by Russell Hill



SYNOPSIS:

A teenager born with severe facial disfigurements tries to live out his life as best as he can with the help of his tough mother and caring friends.

They told 16-year-old Rocky Dennis he could never be like everyone else. So he was determined to be better.

Screenplay by Anna Hamilton Phelan (Gorillas in the Mist, Girl Interrupted)

OSCAR Winner for MAKEUP!

REVIEW:

Based on a true story of Rocky Dennis who was born with horrendous facial disabilities, MASK is a story which embodies the human spirit that could certainly teach the audience a lesson or two about their own lives and certainly a fitting tribute to the real Rocky who fought so bravely to live his life as best as he could.

Played by an unrecognisable Eric Stoltz, Rocky is a person who never let what his face looked like in order for him to do what every other boy his own age was doing; meeting girls, drinking beer and having a good time. At first meeting, people are shocked to see Rocky but when they learn what a caring, funny and downright nice person he is they see past what he looks like and soon appreciate what a great guy Rocky is. The prosthetics for Stoltz must have taken hours, and is an achievement to show Stoltzís acting skills as he successfully pulls off this character with ease.

In one of her early roles, Cher as Rockyís mother Rusty too is a treat to watch. Rusty knows of her sonís disability, but sees to it that Rocky lives life to the fullest. He enrols at a state high school, and associates with Rustyís rowdy buddies that, despite their biker image, all have hearts of gold. A weak character Rusty is not.

Now, this being Hollywood, the archetypal male character must be portrayed and this comes in the form of Gar (Elliot). Looking like a mixture of Clint Eastwood in THE OUTLAW JOSIE WELLES and some obscure cowboy from a John Wayne western, Gar is not a guy you would want to be up against in a fight. He is a very protective character; even more so of Rocky and Rusty. They are his family, and he does everything to protect them whether that be physically or emotionally. The moustache which Gar sports, that looks as though it hasnít been trimmed in an age and is waxed into scruffiness each morning, looks as though it belongs in 1860ís Texas. Although it was Cher and Stoltz who shared top billing, it is Elliot who must be seen for how this tough persona can be pulled off.

Itís not that often which Hollywood releases a movie that best depicts disability. But, with MASK, it doesnít at one point mock Rocky for the condition in which he finds suffering from. Bogdanovich demonstrates what a great director he is, and the cast does their part too. A classic which has to be seen.

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