5.9/10
576
19 user 11 critic

Mr. Rice's Secret (1999)

A terminally-ill boy's life is saved when his deceased 400-year-old friend, "Mr. Rice", leads him on a treasure hunt to find a magical "Potion of Life".

Director:

Nicholas Kendall

Writer:

J.H. Wyman
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Bowie ... Mr. Rice
Bill Switzer ... Owen
Teryl Rothery ... Marylyn
Garwin Sanford ... Stan
Zach Lipovsky ... Funnel Head
Jason Anderson Jason Anderson ... Veg
Tyler Thompson Tyler Thompson ... Gilbert
Campbell Lane ... Mr. Death
Richard de Klerk ... Simon (as Richard De Klerk)
Tyler Labine ... Percy
Eric Keenleyside ... Ray (as Eric Keenlyside)
Colleen Rennison ... Molly
Kyle Labine ... Jonathan
Tim Dixon ... Priest
Juno Rinaldi ... Cindy (as Juno Ruddell)
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Storyline

A terminally-ill boy's life is saved when his deceased 400-year-old friend, "Mr. Rice", leads him on a treasure hunt to find a magical "Potion of Life".

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's what you do in life that counts.

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, language and scenes of bullying | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 March 2001 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Rice's Secret See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the end of the credits, the working title of the movie can be seen: "Exhuming Mr. Rice". See more »

Quotes

Funnel 'Funnel Head' McConnell: He's a parent, Owen. He's a recognized authority figure: I mean, he's supposed to be lied to!
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 David Bowie Movie Performances (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Trainwreck
Performed by Sharkskin
Written by Stewart Northey/Elliott Kendall
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User Reviews

A posthumous treasure hunt that leads nowhere
26 January 2002 | by gnoelleSee all my reviews

What better friend can a dying boy have than a mysterious neighbor who gives him a really cool ring, which he throws away at the first opportunity?

This movie had great potential. David Bowie exists only in flashback as an avuncular sage who spouts chestnuts about living and dying, and for all that I wish that his screen time had been longer. Certainly his is the most interesting character in this collection of cliches, and the casting was well done in his case.

My main problem with this movie is that it could have been a fantastic story, except it pulls out every cheap sentimental stop along the way. The story could have been told in many ways other than this one, with its collection of children that are either dying or obnoxious or both, but I suppose that it's just not as interesting or story-worthy when an adult is terminally ill. Why couldn't any other member of the community that supposedly loved and mourned Mr. Rice have been the recipient of his secret?

The treasure hunt itself is a good device, and one of the best parts of the movie, as are Owen's troubling nightmares and images of death. I would like to have seen more of this. I would like to have learned more about Mr. Rice's life...and death. Instead, we're left with frustrating glimpses of an interesting character, and no real clue why he chose this boy as his best friend. This is a movie that tries too hard to be too many things (in some places too strongly reminiscent of "Stand By Me"), and in the end really leads the viewer nowhere we haven't been before.


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