What You Need To Know:
What follows next in THE TIC CODE is emotionally compelling, but one nearly tragic episode at the end of the movie exhibits irresponsible, very dangerous behavior. This episode, as well as the movie’s strong foul language and some occult elements, actually involve the children portrayed in the story. Consequently, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot really give THE TIC CODE even an extreme caution for adult viewers. This is regrettable. Not only because the movie is well made, but also because the movie teaches that love brings people closer and love heals emotional crises. Although done within a worldview that seems philosophically romantic, these positive moral elements prevent THE TIC CODE from being truly abhorrent
(RoRo, B, OO, LLL, VV, S, NN, AA, D, M) Romantic worldview that believes strong foul language, occultism & crude talk about fornication in front of children are okay, with some moral elements & children emulate adult who’s into voodoo by trying to cast spells; 53 mostly strong obscenities & 14 mostly strong profanities plus mildly crude references to fornication in front of children; young bully punches & threatens another young child with Tourette’s Syndrome, young child ponders whether to commit suicide while holding gun in a highly irresponsible manner, man gets angry & grabs another man by the lapels while pinning him down, & gunshot heard off screen; implied fornication; upper male nudity & woman wears see-through bra; alcohol use & mother lets her young son, a musician, visit nightclub where jazz band plays but alcohol is served; smoking; and, people are mean to little boy with physical handicap, woman withholds information from boyfriend which leads to arguments, man afraid to discuss his own physical handicap, anger, & condescending father mistreats son which led to split with boy’s mother.
There’s a compelling story lurking within THE TIC CODE, a small, independent R-rated movie written by actress Polly Draper, who also stars.
In the movie, inspired by her real husband’s life, Draper plays the mother of a young boy with a mild case of Tourette’s Syndrome. Tourette’s Syndrome causes the boy, wonderfully played by Christopher George Marquette, to break out into physical tics, especially when he’s nervous or disturbed. The tics disappear, however, whenever the talented Miles plays the piano, especially jazz. When a black saxophone player, Tyrone, who’s being featured down at the local jazz bar, asks Miles to play with him, the tics come back with a vengeance. A few days later, though, Tyrone suddenly appears playing his sax when Miles is playing the bar’s piano before the jazz club opens.
Tyrone, who also suffers from a mild case of Tourette’s, establishes a friendship with Miles. Miles begins to think that Tyrone is just what his mother, Laura, needs. Laura has been separated from Miles’ real father, a successful musician working 3,000 miles away in Hollywood. Laura believes that the father left them because he couldn’t really cope with Miles’ physical problems. Indeed, that’s the same impression viewers get when the father arranges a brief meeting with Miles at the airport.
Tyrone and Laura establish a tentative romance, but Laura begins to drive Tyrone away when she keeps wanting to discuss the disease that affects both him and her son. Tyrone also gets upset when he finds out that, before the events depicted in the movie started, Laura had been attending Tyrone’s gigs when her ex-husband had mentioned to her that Tyrone has tics like Miles. Tyrone suspects that all Laura wants is Tyrone’s help with Miles. What follows next is emotionally captivating, but one nearly tragic episode at the end of the movie is much too disturbing, irresponsible and dangerous.
Strong foul language is what fatally damages THE TIC CODE. Although typical for an R-rated movie, much of that foul language is repeated in front of the child actors in the movie. THE TIC CODE also has the adult characters using crude language advocating fornication in front of child characters. Finally, one of the members in Tyrone’s jazz combo wears voodoo items around his neck. This inspires Miles and his young black friend, Todd, to use voodoo spells against a bully who’s been antagonizing them. In fact, Miles and Todd think the voodoo successfully changes the bully’s behavior, although viewers realize that the bully’s behavior changes because Tyrone has told the bully that the tics which he and Miles sometimes do are really a secret code. The bully begs Miles and Todd to let him in on the code, so Miles and Todd believe that the voodoo spells have really worked.
All of this crude and occult behavior may lead to copycat sins. In addition, the potentially tragic episode at the end of THE TIC CODE, though happily resolved, also may unintentionally lead to a violent copycat act. It thus adds to the intensity of the movie’s violence level. Since children are involved in all of these things, this objectionable material is particularly disturbing.
Consequently, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot really give THE TIC CODE even an extreme caution for adult viewers. This is regrettable for several reasons. First, all of the actors, including Gregory Hines as Tyrone, give excellent performances. Secondly, THE TIC CODE is well written and well directed by Polly Draper and Gary Winick, respectively. They present characters who, despite their flaws, are sympathetic and compelling. Finally, the main themes of the story, which provide the positive note on which the movie ends, are: love brings people closer and love heals emotional crises. Although done within a worldview which seems romantic, these moral elements prevent THE TIC CODE from being truly abhorrent.