A meticulously made film that raises haunting questions about personal identity and the role of mind over matter in treating serious illness, “The Bumblebee Flies Anyway” features terrific perfs from a gifted young cast. There’s enough precocious wisdom to choke a horse in eerie, agreeably suspenseful tale of an amnesiac boy struggling to remember who he is while boarding at an austere facility for terminally ill youngsters. The world probably isn’t waiting for a sober, deliberately paced mystery about the life-and-death decisions of doomed teens, but the pic has its rewards.
Barney Snow (Elijah Wood) harbors a few fragmented memories — particularly flashes of piloting a red convertible — but can’t recall much else about himself. When he’s not trying to recoup memories during therapy with two businesslike doctors (Janeane Garofalo and Roger Rees), he spars and bonds with other patients, including wheelchair-bound prankster Billy the Kidney (excellent George Gore III) and fast-fading cancer sufferer Mazzo (outstanding Joseph Perrino), whose twin sister, Cassie (Rachel Leigh Cook), takes a shine to Barney. There’s something sinister and potentially wonderful afoot at the clinic , whose sterile environment contrasts with the intense, gamely concealed emotions of young protags.