Cliff plays Charlie Gordon in the 1968 Film, “Charly.” Charlie’s desire to become smarter takes him to a clinic where he is a human lab rat. Charlie’s eligibility for a new procedure depends on his race with a lab rat, Algernon. Charlie repeatedly loses the race and still undergoes the operation. After the surgery, Charlie’s intelligence surpasses his teacher’s and he beats Algernon in the maze. He begins to deal with everyday problems and asserts his new intellect. His struggle becomes a battle of will not to lose his intelligence after learning of Algernon’s death. Charlie realizes his intelligence is temporary and ultimately reverts back to his former self.
Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton plays Karl Childers in the 1996 Film, “Sling Blade.” Karl befriends a 12-year old boy, Frank after being released from a mental institution where he has spent the past 12 years for the murder of his mother and her boyfriend. Karl moves in with Frank and the boy’s mother, Linda despite resistance from her abusive boyfriend, Doyle. The boy’s mother agrees to allow Karl to move into the garage. When Doyle becomes increasingly abusive towards Frank and Linda, Karl decided he needs to protect his friends by killing Doyle. Karl ‘s mind is relieved as he is sent to spend his remaining days confined within the walls of the institution.
John Malkovich played Lennie in the 1981 film, “Of Mice and Men.” Lennie is a migrant worker during The Great Depression and is taken under the wing of another worker, George. George and Lennie often talk about their dream to own a farm of their own. George seems resistant to Lennie and the continuous attention he requires, but their bond grows stronger with each evening spent together. Lennie’s simple and youthful joy of petting soft things gets him into trouble and the friends have to flee. It is the love George develops for Lennie that tragically preserve’s Lennie’s happiness in the end.
Jodie Foster portrayed Nell in the 1994 drama, “Nell.” Nell is discovered isolated from the world when her mother dies from a stroke. A doctor is granted permission to observe Nell in her natural environment. She studies Nell’s strange language and become close enough to learn of her deceased twin sister. When Nell is discovered in town, they are forced to put Nell in an institution for her safety and an expert decides that is where she should stay.
In an unexpected twist, Nell speaks for herself about the decision. She is allowed to stay in her cottage in the woods.
Patricia Arquette played Alice in the 1991 T.V. Film, “Wildflower.” Alice was a half-deaf, abused girl forced to live in the barn behind her father’s house. Alice’s father believed her frequent suffering from seizures was a sign of the devil. He kept her isolated for the rest of the world. Alice is discovered by 2 siblings who become her only friends. Their compassion and dedication to their neglected friend helps her develop a sense of independence. Alice transforms into a beautiful woman thanks to the love the siblings show her.
Tom Hanks played Forrest Gump in the 1994 film, “Forrest Gump.” Forrest is a simple man in love with the same woman, Jenny from adolescence to adulthood. The movie spans over many decades during Forrest’s life. Forrest accidently stumbles into many iconic moments in history that defined the cultural issues of that generation. Forrest meets Elvis, joins the Army, and witnesses the desegregation of a college. The movie concludes with Forrest waiting for a bus with a box of chocolates to see Jenny. When he arrives he meets the son they share as a result of a passionate night together.
Dustin Hoffman played Raymond Babbit in the 1988 film, “Rain Man.” Raymond is the older brother of a car dealer, Charlie. Raymond has been kept in a mental institution until Charlie learns of his existence. Raymond’s brother, Charlie takes Raymond across the country to gain access to his late father’s 3 million dollar inheritance to bail out his dealership. Charlie is easily frustrated by Raymond because he believes he can be healed. Charlie learns his brother is a mathematical savant and becomes attached to him over the miles. Raymond tells stories about his little brother, Charlie, proving how great his mind is.
Juliette plays Carla Tate in the 1999 film, “The Other Sister.” Carla tries to prove to her family that she is just as intelligent as her “perfect” sister. Carla deals with the challenges of growing up to prove to her mother she is capable of being on her own. To prove to her independence to her family, Carla enrolls in college, falls in love with Danny and moves into an apartment of her own. Danny purposes to Carla and despite her mother’s hesitation, they are married. Carla’s mother shows up in support and her father walks her down the aisle.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba plays a developmentally challenged football fan in the 2003 movie, “Radio.” Cuba’s role as Radio followed a dedicated fan of football and music. Radio is reserved and does not speak to anyone and no one speaks to him. He carries a hand radio with him and is given his nickname. The coach of a high school football team observes Radio as he walks by practice daily. The coach takes Radio under his wing allows Radio to be a part of the team. Radio helps inspire the team and is with them when they celebrate their victory.
Leonardo plays Arnie in the 1993 film, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” Arnie is cared for by his brother Gilbert. Arnie’s mind leaves him as a child who loves to climb trees. At 17, Arnie’s child-like innocence requires the constant supervision and guidance from his brother that his obese mother can’t provide. Gilbert gets frustrated with his parenting duties as he tries to figure out how to fall in love. Arnie is seen sitting in a bathtub until sunrise when Gilbert leaves. After Arnie’s 18th birthday, their mother passes and Gilbert realizes his importance in the care of his brother.
Sean plays Sam Dawson in the 2001 film, “I am Sam.” Sam is developmentally challenged and left to care for his 7 year-old daughter, Lucy. Sam has a support system in place to help him care for his daughter, but she is removed from his care at her birthday party. Sam is only allowed limited visitation to see his daughter. When Lucy is placed in foster care she often escapes back to her father’s apartment. Realizing Lucy needs to be with her father, they decide to return Lucy back to Sam, instead of adopting her as they planned.