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All actors have to try a mental-impairment role at some point in their careers (don't they?), and Mel Gibson took his best shot with this sweet film about a young retarded man and his gentle relationship with an older woman (Piper Laurie) who teaches him to read and to adjust to the real world. Tim's parents come to trust the woman's honorable intentions, but the movie still gives Mel's female fans a lot to swoon over; it's a platonic romance with plenty of temptation that's never acted upon. Add to that the fact that Gibson's really quite good in the title role--after Mad Max, this was Mel's first widely seen opportunity to prove himself in a dramatic role before his higher-profile roles in The Road Warrior and Gallipoli. Tim is a bit too schmaltzy and sentimental, but this 1979 release has gained a loyal audience over the years, and the film has a lot more than just a young Mel Gibson to recommend it. --Jeff Shannon
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