Even people who dislike the film, usually because they find the ending confused, should appreciate the strong acting of Elijah Wood & Joseph Mazello who played the two young leads in this movie.
Spoiler WARNING: At a literal level, the ending makes no sense. People who think the ending makes some sense at other levels are divided between those who 1) think the younger brother was killed by the step-father either the one time Mike (the older boy) was away dealing with the neighborhood gang, or flew off the wishing spot in his wagon to escape the situation through death & those 2) who think the younger brother is imaginary & his flying off in the wagon transformed into a flying machine signals his overcoming the abusive situation.
I favor 2). It makes a lot of sense in terms of the way many children deal with abusive situations. It is not uncommon for an abused child to split his or her psyche & project the abused self into something else; a stuffed animal, even an imaginary friend. This way, it makes a lot more sense that it is always the younger boy who is abused & never Mike. In reality, it is unlikely for one of two brothers to get all the abuse, although that does happen. Also, it is Bobby, the younger brother who is also the encouraging one, the one who insists that they can overcome the situation. Also, the death of a real-life sibling through abuse would have been too shattering for an adult with this in his history to transform into as upbeat a fantasy ending as this.
A father reminisces about his childhood when he and his younger brother moved to a new town with their mother, her new husband and their dog, Shane. When the younger brother is subjected to physical abuse at the hands of their brutal stepfather, Mike decides to convert their toy trolley, the "Radio Flyer", into a plane to fly him to safety.
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