The Cure

The Cure was released on April 21, 1995. It is a great drama and stars Brad, Joseph Mazzello, and Anabella Sciorra. It is a truly enjoyable film and one of Brad's best. It is a film like The Cure that you can watch over and over and really enjoy. I wish there were more movies like this. When I saw this for the first time, I kind of took it for granted how good it was...they just don't make movies this way anymore.

PG-13 1995 Drama 1:39
Joseph Mazzello, Brad Renfro, Bruce Davison, Anabella Sciorra, Diana Scarwid, Nicky Katt, Aeryk Egan, Renée Humphrey
Director: Peter Horton

Eleven-year old Dexter (Mazzello) is ostracized from his town when he discovers he has contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. Next door neighbor Erik (Renfro) becomes teased by classmates for living next to him and also finds himself in a not-so-good situation. However, after not wanting to live next to him, Erik and Dexter become best of friends. They play Battleship, sail their raft to the supermarket, and eventually set out to try to cure Dex from the deadly virus. They try everything, from leaves to candy, becoming closer and forming an inseparable relationship. Then, one day, the two young boys find an article in a newspaper about a miracle cure to AIDS found by a doctor in New Orleans. The two decide to sail down the Mississippi to New Orleans to find the cure.

An extremely moving film. Great at developing the friendship between Dexter and Erik. Renfro and Mazzello both deliver excellent performances. Wonderful soundtrack with a bunch of great songs. Excellent music. Good storyline. Well made movie, if not so publicized.

A drama only on screen: While The Cure is a very serious and dramatic film, on the set of the film, the two stars, child actors Joseph Mazzello and Brad Renfro, were always doing something funny. Mazzello and Renfro played games and antics when the cameras stopped rolling. Apparently, from being on the set alone, you wouldn't be able to tell they were making a drama.

Setting: Stillwater, Minnesota, Summer of 1995
Filmed: Stillwater, Minnesota
Timeframe: About 2 months
Release Date: April 21, 1995
Ages: 7 and under- Most will not be able to follow the plot or really understand anything, but might be amused by Erik and Dexter and their games. Only part that might frighten them is a scene with Pony chasing after the boys with a knife. The Cure is a sad movie, but they probably won't get it. In any event dealing with a child with a deadly disease might frighten and upset them.
8-11- Should be fine; although the sad parts could greatly upset them.
12-15- Fine audience, will find it a moving and tragic film.
16 and older- A good film for all ages; adults will be interested as much as children.

Universal Pictures, Island Pictures

The New York Times
FILM REVIEW OF "THE CURE" - April 21, 1995

Two Boys in Quest of a Cure

Anyone who played in the woods as a child should relate to the scenes in "The Cure" when two 11-year-old boys, one of whom has AIDS, brew mysterious herb teas from leaves and roots they have collected outdoors. After seeing a headline in a supermarket tabloid proclaiming that a doctor in New Orleans has found an herbal cure, Erik (Brad Renfro) tries to heal his ailing next-door neighbor, Dexter (Joseph Mazzello), with teas made from the local foliage.

All goes well until Erik accidentally poisons his friend, who is rushed to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. Taking more drastic measures, Erik pressures Dexter into running away on an improvised raft that he intends to sail from Minnesota down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, where the miracle cure waits. Roughly half the movie follows their trip, during which they forsake their raft to hitch a speedier ride with a scruffy young yachtman (Nicky Katt), who is in no hurry to reach Louisiana once a couple of pretty women come on board.

When "The Cure" focuses on the rites of childhood, it evokes with an intense clarity the particular blend of innocence, curiosity, terror, and bravado that drives children to commit desperate acts. Although the film dilligently pitches itself on a higher level than the typical disease-of-the-week television movie, it occasionally lapsas into sentimentality. And its greatly softened picture of the ravages of AIDS reduces the symptoms to weakness, occasional fever and a few mild coughing fits.

This exceptionally well-acted movie is the first feature film directed by Peter Horton, an actor best known for his role in the television series "Thirtysomething." What he and the screenwriter, Robert Kuhn, have created is a poignant pre-adolescent buddy movie whose emotional appeal doesn't depend on the fact that one of the main characters has a fatal illness.

If the friendship between Erik, a tough, outdoorsy type, and the more sheltered and intellectually inclined Dexter seems unlikely, Mr. Renfro and Mr. Mazzello makes it convincing with their understated, seamlessly meshed performances. Like his character in "The Client," Mr. Renfro's Erik is stubborn, resourceful and instinctively at home in the world. He takes pride in being Dexter's protector and surrogate older brother. And his adventurous spirit kindles his friend a renewed zest for living along with a restless courage.

The differences between the two characters are underscored by their patly contrasted single mothers. Gail (Diana Scarwid), Erik's mom, is a tough, embittered working woman who sits alone in the dark, chain-smoking and drinking at the end of the day. She is panicked lest her son have any contact with "that AIDS boy" next door. Dexter's mother, Linda (Anabella Sciorra), is a sympathetic figure, at once courageous and fragile as she continually tries to balance her desire to protect Dexter with her recognition that his friendship with the rugged, risk-taking Erik is ultimately more life-sustaining than any medicine.

"The Cure" is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has sexual situations, but they are suggested not shown. In the opening scenes, Erik is harshly taunted by his classmates for living next door to someone with AIDS. Without being explicit, the film takes pains to make it clear that AIDS is not easily transmissible through close casual contact.

What's New with the Stars of The Cure

A lot! Check out the info...

Brad plays Erik Erik (BRAD) Brad's new movie, Apt Pupil, is now available on videotape and DVD to rent or buy.

Dexter (JOSEPH MAZZELLO) In early 1998, Mazzello starred in the fantasy film Star Kid. But even more recently, the 15-year old star of Jurassic Park, Radio Flyer, and The River Wild has been in the entertainment news. In September 1998, Mazzello got top billing in Simon Birch, suggested by John Irving's novel A Prayer For Owen Meany. Simon Birch was well received by audiences and is now on videotape.

Linda (ANABELLA SCIORRA) Boy, the fall of '98 must have been the season for Cure actors to have big movies come out. A year ago, Sciorra's new movie What Dreams May Come got much attention for its release. This tremendous special-effects filled movie explores the afterlife and many moviegoers went to see it. The film stars Robin Williams as Sciorra's husband who dies in a car crash. The movie also stars Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. as an angel. This is the first major news of Sciorra since The Cure that we have heard of. And, oh yeah, it's pronounced Shee-ora.

Dr. Stevens (BRUCE DAVISON) You may not remember him as one of Dexter's doctors in The Cure, but Davison did get high billing in the 1995 drama. This veteran actor teemed up again with Brad in Apt Pupil, playing Todd's "supportive, unassuming" father, Richard Bowden. Bruce Davison in "Apt Pupil"

FACTS: Brad Renfro won the 1995 Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award for Best Young Actor for his performance in The Cure.
Brad went to Japan in the summer of 1995 to promote The Cure, which in Japan was called Friends Forever.

Brad Renfro plays Erik in "The Cure", a film The New York Times calls "poignant pre-adolescent buddy movie" which is "exceptionally well-acted".

This page was created on October 17, 1998.
This page was last updated on April 27, 1999.