I ran into Mark Vicente at the opening of the new film Milton’s Secret down at the Chinese theater in Hollywood. Barnet Bain, the director was there for a packed screening.
The film is an adaptation of a story by Eckhart Tolle and Robert Friedman about a boy who’s in the midst of a contentious home life. The kid is obviously very sensitive and doesn’t know what to do with what he sees and feels. AND the kid next door is a bully and thinks Milton is public enemy number one.
Things are looking bad for everyone until Gramps comes to town. Luckily for the film the Gramps is one Donald Sutherland. He is rebellious, eccentric and, according to his daughter, half way to senile. Its lucky that its Mr. Sutherland playing the part, because the part could easily become a cliché of itself. And there’s the magic in the film – Milton and Grandad.
Films “with a message” can get a bit overly sweet, or sappy, or something, but in this case the interplay between Milton and Grandad is the core of the film. I asked Barnet about the film and he told me “once I realized it wasn’t about trying to get an idea across, but about a boy and his grandfather, the film made sense.”
Still it was apparent that Eckhart had his hands in the story. There was a lurking awareness behind the twists and turns.
In writing this review I poked around on the internet to see the word out there. The Hollywood Reporter reported: “a story by pop-spirituality author Eckhart Tolle.” Reviewers just can’t help getting some dig in.
Its not what you would call a “big film”. Its not what I would call a message film. It really is a story about a boy going through a tough time and somehow being the better for it. I don’t know what kids that age would think, but the way Milton eventually deals with the bullying (which is quite a problem these days) is unique and something that I think would help many children in that difficult spot.
Barnet has been working for many years in the Spiritual Cinema world, and I for one was glad to be there and see his work up on the big screen.