His oncologist (Christine Lahti) offers no comfort. Chris is shut out from what he needs most: someone leveling, someone who understands the dreadful fear of the unknown.
Chris, assigned an essay after the chemo torment on how he spent his summer, turns to the legendary Round Table and, in fantasy, becomes Squire Millard, who must defeat evil, bad-rhyming Queen Raptemahad (Lahti). Dad and Mom earn their own spots at Chris’ fictional table, and Chris sets off on four tasks commanded by the queen so he can earn four diamonds: courage, wisdom, honesty and strength. The final battle is a joust with the black knight as Chris, having brought the others into openness, sets off for the palace.
Pic at times stints on poignancy, but young Guiry acceptably pursues the course of both roles. Lahti, whose doctor is a chill, rightfully plays the witch as the projection of a tortured pre-teen mind.
As the mom, Brook, also playing a gorgeous hermit in the fantasy’s woods, is good, and Dunn’s upset dad is sympathetic. Michael Bacall as Chris’ ill friend Tony brings across a strong characterization.
Robinson’s script, based on the late Chris Millard’s own sad story — both as he wrote it in the fantasy and as he lived it out — retains striking clarity between the two tales, real and imaginary. Robinson gets the important message across that young, ailing people are human, aware and already suffering enough without being handed the burden of deception.
Tech credits are efficient, and Philip Marshall contributes a supportive score.