Radio – 4 fl0w3rs

I hoped for much but expected little from this movie. I figured it could go a few different directions. It could be a less comedic version of The Water Boy. It could be Remember The Titans with a mentally challenged mascot. It could be a football rah-rah movie where they win the “big game”. It could be the show where you get to know and love the challenged character and then they kill him off and break your heart.

It was none of these. It was so much more. Spoilers follow:

This movie is about the true story of a relationship between a high school teacher and football coach (Harris) and Radio (Gooding). The relationship between Radio, an illiterate, mentally challenged man and the football-loving coach grows into a mentoring relationship full of hope and tribulation. While Coach Jones is bringing Radio out of his shell, Radio is bringing this South Carolina town to life. Although their friendship wasn’t accepted by many at first, Radio’s beautiful, gentle spirit inspired the locals and taught the coach about the importance of family and loved ones.

Gooding was excellent. I’m not an actress, so maybe it is easy to play someone mentally challenge. I’m not so sure, however, it is as easy to bring that same character to life with dignity. Gooding does it with ease. He doesn’t over-do it, like Sean Penn in I Am Sam. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ed Harris too. The sincerity he brought to this character warmed my heart. There was something in his eyes or the tone of his voice that bring you so close to Coach Jones.

This is a great family film (barring usage of a few explitives) with an inspiring message that we could all learn from. I highly recommend that you check this one out.

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