Movie Details

Rip Torn does a magnificent job as American poet Walt Whitman in the fanciful period piece Beautiful Dreamers. The scene is a hellish 19th century Canadian institution for the mentally retarded. Compassionate doctor Maurice Bucke (Colm Feore) defies his superiors by treating his patients as human beings rather than animals. He even begins conducting classes for his charges, teaching them basic cognitive and manual dexterity skills. When Whitman champions Bucke's cause, the doctor is ostracized by those who fear the poet's reputation as a "wild-eyed" radicial. Based on a true story, Beautiful Dreamers is more interesting for its intentions than its execution. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi