That's What I Am (2011)

That's What I Am Poster

A coming-of-age story that follows 12-year-old Andy Nichol, a bright student who, like most kids his age, will do anything to avoid conflict for fear of suffering overwhelming ridicule and punishment from his junior high school peers.

"That's What I Am" is an unique coming-of-age drama film from WWE Studios. Released in 2011, the movie is directed by Michael Pavone and includes a multi-layered narrative centered on core styles of friendship, innocence, and societal bias. Integrating a 1960s background, Pavone presents thought-provoking aspects into the story, leading to a reflection on social standards, habits, and mindsets.

Plot Summary
The story unfolds in California in 1965 and follows the life of a 12-year-old narrator, Andy Nichol, played by Chase Ellison. Andy, implicated of being a 'geek', is assigned a class job with the school's greatest outcast, Stanley, who's referred to as 'Big G' (for ginger) due to his red hair, played by Alexander Walters. Regardless of initial resistance, Andy soon starts to value Stanley for his stability and sincerity and the duo develops an intense bond.

Character Developments
Throughout the journey, Andy discovers to look beyond outside appearances and embrace specific credibility. Stanley, unapologetically original and unfazed by taunts, teaches Andy lessons about self-acceptance and durability through his actions. On the other hand, the respected educator Mr. Simon, depicted by Ed Harris, motivates the boys to challenge societal expectations.

Prejudice and Bullying Themes
A significant part of the film checks out the approximate nature of prejudice and bullying. Mr. Simon ends up being the topic of slander when parents believe him of being homosexual, setting off traumatic effects. The report highlights the intolerance of the period and signifies the difficulty faced by those who deviate from societal norms.

On the other hand, Stanley's continued victimization due to his physical appearance lays bare the ruthlessness of bullying. Yet, Stanley stays a source of positivity and strength, refusing to be broken by the ridicule.

Moral Messages and Conclusion
"That's What I Am" carries resonating messages of equality, understanding, and acceptance. It stresses the value of character over physicality, especially showed when Andy chooses to publicly safeguard Stanley. Despite social pressure and condemnation, both Andy and Mr. Simon remain unfaltering in their morality.

The conclusion is bittersweet; while Mr. Simon is required to resign due to the reports, he leaves an indelible mark on his students. Stanley, despite continued bullying, solidifies his relationship with Andy. The film ends with adult Andy, revealed to be a successful author, reminiscing about the developmental duration and the individuals who formed his life.

Effect and Reception
"That's What I Am" is a heartfelt insight into the struggles of maturing and showcases the power of human approval and durability. The film received favorable evaluations for its genuine and practical portrayal of childhood experiences and social concerns. It functions as a mild yet powerful suggestion to welcome and celebrate individuality, fostering tolerance and understanding.

Top Cast

  • Chase Ellison (small)
    Chase Ellison
    Andy Nichol
  • Ed Harris (small)
    Ed Harris
    Mr. Simon
  • Molly Parker (small)
    Molly Parker
    Sherri Nichol
  • Mia Rose Frampton (small)
    Mia Rose Frampton
    Mary Clear
  • Amy Madigan (small)
    Amy Madigan
    Principal Kelner
  • Renwick D. Scott II (small)
    Renwick D. Scott II
    Dan Rainier
  • Randy Orton (small)
    Randy Orton
    Ed Freel
  • Yvette Rachelle (small)
    Yvette Rachelle
    Yvette Swedish Supermodel
  • Jordan Reynolds
    Ricky Brown
  • Daniel Yelsky (small)
    Daniel Yelsky
    Norman Grunmeyer
  • Alex Hardee
    Stan Geyer