This is the film, based on a story by Brian Aldiss, that Stanley Kubrick wanted to make but finally handed over to Steven Spielberg who, after Kubrick’s death, wrote and directed it himself. It’s set in a bleak future where Hayley Joel Osment is a prototype robot who looks and feels like a real boy and is taken in by Frances O’Connor and Sam Robards. Their own son is seriously ill and the needy O’Connor grows to love Osment as her own child, and he loves her. But then the real son recovers, sibling rivalry kicks in and Osment is abandoned in the woods with a robot teddy bear. What transpires is a curious mix of sci-fi, with remarkable special effects, and fairy tale giving off powerful echoes of Pinocchio as Osment seeks a fairy who can turn him into a real boy and reunite him with O’Connor. It’s an ambitious, touching oddity that deep down is about love, rejection, loneliness and aspiration.
Biographical drama starring Julia Roberts as a trailer trash campaigner in a push-up bra with a fruity line in negotiating skills. Brockovich bravely takes on big business, and Roberts won a well deserved Oscar.