The Cure (1995 film)

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The Cure
The Cure 1995.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Horton
Produced by Mark Burg
Eric Eisner
Written by Robert Kuhn
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Andrew Dintenfass
Edited by Anthony Sherin
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • April 21, 1995 (1995-04-21)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million
Box office $2,588,429

The Cure is a 1995 drama film starring Brad Renfro and Joseph Mazzello about two boys searching for the cure of AIDS, from which one of them is suffering. It was produced by Eric Eisner and Mark Burg.


Set in a small town of Stillwater, Minnesota, Erik (Brad Renfro) is a 13-year-old adolescent loner with an emotionally abusive and neglectful workaholic mother, Gail (Diana Scarwid) who hardly spends time with him. His father, who treated Erik considerably better than his mother, lives in New Orleans. Dexter (Joseph Mazzello), an 11-year-old boy who contracted HIV through a blood transfusion, is Erik's neighbor. Initially, Dexter is put off by Erik, but they become both good friends despite their differences. Erik seeks a family in Dexter and his congenial mother, Linda (Annabella Sciorra), due to his bad relationship with Gail, but Erik keeps the friendship a secret from her, knowing that Gail won't approve.

Gail discovers the friendship one night after Linda comes over to ask Erik about something Dexter ate in the boys' quest to find a natural cure for his disease. She is furious and warns Linda to keep Dexter away, but Linda, who resents her, ignores her and encourages the friendship. When the boys read an article in a tabloid about a doctor in distant New Orleans who claims to have found a cure for AIDS, they set out on their own down the Mississippi River in the hope of finding a means of saving Dexter's life.

Initially, the boys start taking a boat down the river with a bunch of degenerates, but eventually steal their money (as they were never treated well by the group) and try to hitchhike the rest of the way. When the boatmen find that their money has been stolen, they locate the kids at a bus station and proceed to chase them until they reach a dead end in a dilapidated building. Erik draws a switchblade, causing one of the men to draw a knife as well. Dexter suddenly grabs the knife from Erik, and cuts his hand to cause himself to bleed. He threatens the boatman with his blood, saying that he has AIDS and could easily transfer the disease to him (the boatman has open wounds on his arm as a result of an injury received when chasing the boys). Dexter then chases the boatmen off, threatening them with his bleeding hand. Once the two men are gone, Dexter realizes what he has done in directly exposing his blood to the outside environment. He suddenly feels sick, so Erik helps to escort him back to the bus station. Realizing that their journey must end if Dexter is to be treated, Erik resorts to calling Linda to have her pick the boys up when they arrive on the bus in Stillwater.

Once they return, Dexter spends the rest of his time in the hospital. Erik stays with Linda, knowing that not only will Gail be angry, but she will not let him visit Dexter in the hospital. Dexter and Erik prank the doctors three times that Dexter's dead. But when the third doctor arrives to check him, Dexter really has died. While driving Erik home, Linda notices a mother holding her young child while crossing the street. With the child serving as a reminder of Dexter, she pulls over and breaks down crying. Erik apologizes to her, saying that he should have tried harder to find a cure. Linda, taken aback by his comment, embraces Erik, explaining that he was the happiest thing in Dexter's difficult life. Upon arrival at home, they are confronted by a furious Gail. When Gail starts to hit Erik, Linda quickly intervenes and asks to talk to her privately.

Once the two are inside Linda's home, Linda angrily and tearfully informs Gail about Dexter's death and demands that she allow Erik to go to the funeral and be a better parent to him or she will report her abuse and neglect to Child Protective Services. Realizing all that she has done to Erik, Gail breaks down and guiltily complies.

At the funeral, Erik places one of his shoes in the coffin and takes one of Dexter's to let sail down the river (as earlier in the trip when Dexter's having nightmares, Erik told Dexter to hold one of his sneakers as a reminder that he's always by his side). This way, the shoes represent the boys' souls and their will to live.



The original soundtrack of the film was composed by Dave Grusin and released in the same year as the film. The song, called 'My Great Escape', was written and performed by Marc Cohn. However, this song has never been released on any media outside this movie.

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