Director: Matthew Bright
Screenwriters: Bill Weiner

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Matthew Bright creates mind-expanding cinema. His first feature, Freeway, gained cult status for its larger-than-life characterizations. In Tiptoes, his renegade style is more refined, but the social themes are just as prevalent. Big messages are delivered in little packages, or, to be more specific, little people.

Gary Oldman plays a man with dwarfism who has a normal-sized brother, Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey's girlfriend, Kate Beckinsale, is kept unaware of this family bloodline. When she gets pregnant, the possibility of having a child with dwarfism puts the relationship to the test. Finally, who is prejudiced and who is in denial must be reckoned with.

Bright has enlisted an amazing cast, including Peter Dinklage as a crazy radical Frenchman and Patricia Arquette as the free spirit he literally picks up on the side of the road. The script by Bill Weiner is an emotional playground. In one scene, Oldman scoffs, "That's just little people's shit," which is exactly the opposite of what makes the film work. In these characters, he instills all of our fears and hang-ups: fear of rejection, fear of commitment; fear of relationships—the whole gamut. We soon learn that the true measure of a person is how one copes with life's surprises. In Tiptoes, the tallest person may just be the smallest.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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