The Tic Code

on August 04, 2000 by Tim Cogshell
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   Miles (Chris Marquette) is a 12-year-old piano prodigy with Tourette's syndrome. When he is nervous, angry, frustrated or simply unable to concentrate, he twitches, grunts, acts out obsessively, experiences morbid thoughts and says inappropriate, sometimes hurtful things--all completely outside of his control. He's teased by his schoolmates, and his absentee father mostly ignores him. His single mother (Polly Draper) is his rock, but her own life suffers in the process.

   "The Tic Code's" extremely limited distribution is not the measure of the film. It is a solid effort buoyed by writer/co-star Polly Draper's bright and pithy first feature script, as well as several exceptional performances, particularly those of young Chris Marquette as the afflicted but brilliant Miles, and Gregory Hines as a talented saxophonist who also has the disease. Though the movie is a bit unfocused, it is sincere, emotionally strong, well-executed and worth looking for.    Starring Chris Marquette, Polly Draper, Gregory Hines, Desmond Robertson, Carol Kane, Bill Nunn, Tony Shalhoub, Fisher Stevens, Camryn Manheim, David Johansen and James McCaffrey. Directed by Gary Winick. Written by Polly Draper. Produced by Polly Draper, Sara Pillsbury and Karen Tangora. An Avalanche Release. Drama. Rated R for language and intense sequences. Running time: 89 min.

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