Children of Heaven - B
Viewed March 27, 1999 at Angelika

I avoided seeing this film for a while due to the saccharine nature of the trailer, but thankfully Children of Heaven is better than I expected. It's mostly free of maudlin sentimentality[1], and it successfully captures the POV of a child. This is most successful when at the film's climax (a long foot race[2]) Ali's physical victory ends up feeling like an emotional defeat, since it wasn't the goal he had in mind. Even though we get a brief shot that suggests everything will turn out OK, the film ends on an oddly bittersweet note.

[1] Except when Mir Farrokh Hashemian, as Ali, strikes a pose that looks like an audition for those kitsch painting of big-eyed Mexican orphans.

[2] Which is far more exciting than any of the races in the overrated Without Limits.