Little Man Tate

Synopsis: Fred Tate (Adam Hann-Byrd) is a 7-year-old with a genius IQ. Single mother Dede (Jodie Foster) worries Fred might have an easier time fitting in around other child prodigies. Despite reservations, she allows Fred to go to a smart summer camp run by child psychologist Jane Grierson (Dianne Wiest), a former child prodigy. Fred's studies advance, but, as he prepares for a national TV competition, he is torn between following through with his advanced education or building a normal life.
Genre: Drama
Production: Orion Home Video
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
99 min

For the first two weeks of my life, I didn't have a name.

- Dede couldn't make up her mind. - Hi, kid.

She finally decided on Fred.

She said she'd never heard of a little kid named Fred before.

When I'm dancin' at Radio City once a week, you can have fries when you want.

But right now, you gotta eat this sh*t.

- Yes, you do. - No.

- No? - No.

If you think I'm gonna say "choo-choo" to get you to open up your mouth... got another think comin'. - Koffer.

What is with you today, huh? No koffer. That's food for you to eat, OK?

- Koffer, Mommy. - No, Fred. That's a plate. No koffer.


Look. All right? No koffer, it's a plate.



Definitely not like Matt Montini.

He's the kid I admire most.

Matt Montini is always kickball team captain.

Matt Montini always has someone to eat lunch with.

- What about Fred? - Tate's a wuss.


- What a dork! - Tate's a loser!

...that I never paid attention, that I was probably retarded...

...and that I had a very limited future as a citizen of the United States.

Then, a week later, she said I should probably skip second grade...

...maybe even skip elementary school altogether.

All I want is someone to eat lunch with.

Fred Tate?

Fred Tate!

All right. Let's all be good citizens...

...and be very, very quiet for Fred.

Oh, a visitor.

How lovely to see you, Miss Tate.

Fred and I are just getting ready to do a little duet.

The kid's got an appointment.

Then we'll just make it one quickie little verse, if that's all right with you.

- Yeah, whatever. - Fred.

that there's just too little of

- You were playing backwards again. - It's a stupid song, Dede.

Dede says I don't have a dad. She says I'm the lmmaculate Conception.

That's a pretty big responsibility for a little kid.

His allergies might be getting better, but I see no improvement in the stomach.

Has he been following the diet?

Fred just doesn't like baby food. He never liked it.

Does he like havin' an ulcer? Dede, if he doesn't follow the diet...

...he's not gonna get better. That's as simple as that.

Jeez, drink a little water, will you, Freddie?

- I spilt some. - So you did.

Why don't you wait for me at the table? We're almost through here.

I tell you, Dede...

...l've seen cops on the bomb squad with better stomachs than he's got.

- He does worry a lot. - About what?

About the world. About me.

The only thing he should be worrying about is a loose tooth.

He's got his whole adult life to be miserable.

Hey, you know what day next Saturday is?

You get your period. I spend the day alone in the park.

Very funny, lame-o. It's your birthday.

- Oh, my God. - Come on!


Hey, turn that up. It's a good one.

Wait a minute. Get your shoes on. There you go.

Getting heavy. Care to cut a rug, handsome?

Huh? Remember how I showed you?


This one calls himself Joey X but his real name is Joseph Zimmerman.

years old. Experimental painter.

He's currently working on a $ commission...

...for Hiroshi Electronics corporate headquarters in Tokyo.

- What does he call this painting? - "Irony".

Write him down, please.

Cherry Reynolds. years old. Just published a volume of feminist poetry.

In the preface, she refers to the American housewife as, and I quote...

..."A pathetic slamhound with no notion of self-worth whatsoever."

- Whatever I pay you, it's not enough. - True.

Fred Tate. Seven years old. Second grader at Eisenhower Elementary School.

He writes poetry, paints in oils and water, plays the piano at competition level...

...all the while maintaining unlimited skills in math and physics.

I can't explain it, Jane.

It's not so much what he knows, but...

...what he understands.

"Death". There stands death,

A bluish distillate in a cup without a saucer.

Such a strange place to find a cup,

Standing on the back of a hand.

Oh, shooting star that fell into my eyes and through my body:

Not to forget you. To endure.

- Has this boy been tested? - Just the Stanford-Binet.

His numbers are here.

This is extraordinary.

- Where's the rest of his stuff? - Apparently...

...the mother refuses to let him take any other tests.

What about the father?

- I don't know what happened to him. - She probably doesn't either.

- Did you send them our material? - Yes, but I don't know if she'll respond.

Well, keep trying.

Stupid woman.

M-A-I T-A-I.

Mai tai. Did I say "margarita"?

I don't think so.

Scotch rocks, vodka tonic and a Bud.

The kid's mind is just somewhere else. Maybe he's bored or somethin'.

He hasn't said anything, but I can tell.

- Have you heard a word I said? - Yeah, Dede. I always hear you.

Today your kid's bored.

Yesterday he was having some funny nightmares.

He woke up inside of some painting I never even heard of.

Day before that, correct me if I'm wrong, he wrote you an opera for Mother's Day.

I mean, Jesus, Dede, if anyone's bored, it's me.

Am I that bad? Sorry.


- What? - Come here.

- What? - I got a line on somethin'.


Guy comes in here yesterday. He owns this big hotel down in Orlando.

They do a show every night and he says he needs dancers.

Look at this place. It's beautiful.

Oh, come on, Gina. I ain't danced since I was . And even then, I wasn't so hot.

And there is the matter of my big, fat ass too.

Please, we're talkin' Orlando, honey. Not Vegas.

Down there, if you can tap your feet, you're Madonna.

I say we go down there for the summer and make a vacation out of it.

Hey, you two wanna blab, go work for the phone company.

Why don't you take a pill, ape-shape? We're tryin' to talk here.

Well, the place does look really nice.

Fred does like to swim.

Contrary to what you're saying, Ms Montoya...

...welfare is in fact bad for minorities.

As a social worker, every day you must see people who have simply given up.

And who's to blame them?

I mean, with people like yourself fighting for bigger and bigger hand-outs...

...there's no incentive...

- Dede? - Mm.

Wake up.

What? What's wrong, kid, huh?

You sick?

You feel OK to me.

This is for you.

Looks like somebody already opened it, huh?

It's from the Grierson School. They wanna meet us.

Yeah, yeah. I can read, Fred.

Rate this script:3.0 / 2 votes

Scott Frank

A. Scott Frank (born March 10, 1960) is an American screenwriter, film director, and author. He has earned two Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay nominations, for Out of Sight (1998) and Logan (2017). more…

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Submitted on December 08, 2017

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