When I was in 5th grade, Kirby Jones was in 7th grade. When I left elementary school for the bright lights of 8th grade junior high, Kirby Jones was still in the 7th grade.
Kirby exemplified, to me at least, the concept of eccentric. He talked to his pencils, played mostly alone on the playground and rarely conversed with his classmates in any meaningful, socially-connected way. As I recall, Kirby wasn't considered aloof or dangerous. He was just considered weird.
Like the kid in the Martian Child.
Dennis, (the Martian child, played nicely by Bobby Coleman) is a severely abused kid adopted time and again by various well-meaning adults who, after realizing his intense emotional needs, return him (time and time again) to the foster center. David, (John Cusack) a widower looking to fill the hole in his life, adopts Dennis, and refuses to give up on the kid.
Like lots of message movies, this one ends with both David and Dennis learning something about themselves as they learn about each other.
The Martian Child is an average film in all the areas people judge about in what makes for a good flick.
It's predictable, could use more character development and wraps up a little too neatly at the end.
The movie is important for pointing out, however, that our society tends to dehumanize and devalue those among us who won't--or can't--conform. Live in your own box that's just outside the larger box most call home, and people get more than a little nervous around you.
People even get scared, and they'll shun you.
It's a shame.
We should be celebrating the Kirby Jones' of the world.