The Man Without a Face is set in a Maine coastal town in the summer of 1968. Chuck is a 12 year old who lives with his four-time married mother and two half sisters. He has just flunked the entrance exams for the boarding school his Army pilot father attended.
Chuck discovers that Justin McLeod, a reclusive man whose face has been badly burned in a car accident, was once a teacher. Although McLeod is called "the freak" and "the hamburgerhead" by youth in the community, Chuck decides to ask him to serve as his tutor. At first the boy is nervous and reluctant to follow McLeod's orders but as the summer wears on he relaxes into a routine of studying geometry, Shakespeare, and poetry. Then rumors surface in the town that McLeod was a child molester and Chuck finds his idyll ended and his friendship tested.
In his debut as a film director, actor Mel Gibson has chosen a salutary drama that affirms the important role men can play in the lives of troubled youth. He draws out a realistic and nicely modulated performance from Nick Stahl as Chuck. In the other lead role, Gibson projects just the right mixture of personal reserve and pedagogical zeal as McLeod.
The Man Without a Face offers a glimpse of grace as two individuals restore each other's souls with gifts of trust and love. It's amazing how the right person is often there for us just when he or she is needed.