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, and it successfully captures the POV of a child. This is most successful when at the film's climax (a long foot race) 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.
 Except when Mir Farrokh Hashemian, as Ali, strikes a pose that looks like an audition for those kitsch painting of big-eyed Mexican orphans.
 Which is far more exciting than any of the races in the overrated Without Limits.