Radio is a focuses on the mentoring relationship between a high school football coach (Ed Harris) and Radio (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) - who his mother describes as "the same as everybody else, just a little slower than most" - and how their unique friendship ultimately transforms the entrenched attitudes of a small South Carolina town.
James Robert Kennedy - nicknamed 'Radio' because of his vintage radio collection and his love of music - is a loner in Anderson, South Carolina, pushing his ever-present grocery cart up and down the streets. He speaks to no one and is rarely spoken to, until one day, Coach Harold Jones (Harris) befriends him.
Radio is suspicious at first. But Coach Jones is persistent, even enlisting the help of Radio's mother. Jones' friends and family are taken aback as well since, until he met Radio, all his energies were poured exclusively into football.
Slowly, Coach Jones earns Radio's trust and opens up a new world to him. He invites Radio to help out at football practice and during games and to sit in on his classes at school. He also champions him to the football players, the students and faculty. Coach Jones' life is also enriched by Radio, from whom he learns to value friendship and family ties as much as he does coaching football.
Still, there are those in town who believe that Coach Jones' devotion to the young man is distracting him from his duties as head coach of the football team. There are several attempts to have Radio barred from the classroom and, after his mother's untimely death, remanded to a mental-health facility.
Coach Jones valiantly fights off these efforts, but he is finally forced to make a difficult decision, which will impact both his growing friendship with Radio and his career as a football coach.
What the critics are saying:
"...its racial politics seem too good to be true - but its innocence and charm make for warmly enjoyable entertainment."- Nev Pierce, BBCi Film"It's hard to say what's more offensive about the out-of-tune Radio -- Cuba Gooding Jr. trying to ingratiate himself by mugging up a storm as a mentally challenged man, or the mawkish narrative surrounding him like so much syrup."- Lou Lumenick, New York Post"Though probably well-intentioned, Radio comes off as manipulative of its audience and exploitative of the mentally challenged."- Claudia Puig, USA Today
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