Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Sigourney Weaver, Bebe Neuwirth, John Ritter, Aaron Stanford, Robert Iler

Non-Cast Credits

Gary Winick, Jonathan Sehring, Caroline Kaplan, John Sloss, Dolly Hall, Alexis Alexanian, Gary Winick, Niels Mueller, Heather McGowan, Susan Littenberg, Ellen Lewis, Marcia DeBonis, Jennifer Euston


Oscar Grubman is a very precocious young man. Although he comes from a family of academics (his father is a history professor at Colombia), that doesn't really explain his passion for Voltaire. And he notices things most high school sophomores never really see, like women's hands. More than that, he can order in French and converse intelligently, certainly a rarity among teenagers. But he does share one thing with other 15-year-olds: he's in love. For the Thanksgiving holiday, Oscar comes home from Chancy Academy with a plan�he's going to pursue the love of his life. He will follow the passionate advice of his sage Voltaire and win the heart of his beloved. Oh, there is one difference from most boys is age�his beloved is quite a bit older than he. And that's not the least of it.

Gary Winick has crafted a thoroughly delightful and acutely perceptive take on a well-worn story line�first love�that mixes the slyly suggestive, a very sharp wit, and the innocence of youth (along with a slew of cogent aphorisms) to make Tadpole an absolutely winning and sophisticated romance. The cast is outstanding and Winick elicits dead-on performances from pros like Sigourney Weaver, John Ritter, Bebe Neuwirth and, in the central role, Aaron Stanford.

Digital has been hyped as somehow a salvation in and of itself. But the simple truth is great filmmaking is driven by great scripts, proficient direction, and engaging actors. This is a gem of a production that will be treasured by all of us who long for intelligent creativity in our film diet.


Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.