December 1st was World AIDS Day… So, here’s a touching story from one of the few movies that deal with a heavy topic like AIDS through a strong yet innocent perspective. Try renting The Cure starring Brad Renfro and Joseph Mazzello. It’ll definitely make you smile, laugh, tear up and bring it all to a warm experience at the end. (Also, remember Mazzello? He was the kid in the first Jurassic Park movie).
Erik (Renfro) is your average 12-year-old, who keeps to himself while the kids at school bully him. At home, he is ignored by his single selfish workaholic mother, who spends most of her time between work and as the victim of a failed marriage. One summer morning, Erik finally interacts with Dexter (Mazzello) who is also playing by himself on the other side of the fence. Initially taken aback by what he was told about AIDS by his grandma, he is hostile to Dexter but in a naive childlike way. But things change for the better as Erik and Dexter form a close bond that leads them to spending time together, unknowingly mending cracks in each others lives. The film takes you on a trip with the two boys as they hunt for a cure for AIDS so that Dexter can live a normal life and they (Erik, Dexter and Dexter’s mother) can ‘share a large sized ice cream serving together’.
The relationship between the two boys draws you into their innocent lives right from the first interaction. In one scene, Erik explains to Dexter that maybe he should start eating chocolates instead of greens as he is not getting any better eating vegetables, so it could be time to try the opposite. Dexter‘s mom, (Annabella Sciorr) is a strong mother who understands her child has little time left so she struggles to make his life as normal as she physically can. She is hopeful and thrilled that he has found a true friend in Erik and in return gives Erik the love and attention his own mother fails to deliver. In fact, she keeps the son’s friendship with Erik a secret from Erik’s mom because she knows she won’t approve of it.
Like I mentioned earlier, the film really deals with the AIDS angle with as much respect and sensitivity as possible. It touches upon the misconceptions about the spread of the virus to what patients go through mentally and physically in society. But overall more attention is paid to the relationship between the two boys and true to the film’s tag line,
The film is packed with a commendable balance of light and intense moments, all in context and respect to the subject. My favourite scene is when Erik gives Dexter his shoe so that Dexter never has to fear being alone (or dead) and he says, “…if you wake up and you’re scared, you’ll (Dexter) say, ‘Wait a minute. I’m holding Eric’s shoe. Why the hell would I be holding some smelly basketball shoe a trillion light years from the universe? I must be here on earth, safe in my sleeping bag, and Eric must be close by.’”
It is a melting yet uplifting story that highlights the lighter side of life, the side we all tend to forget when things get rough. So find, The Cure and watch it!