The story is well-known: an odd-looking but lovable alien comes to earth to collect some plants, then accidentally gets left behind by his spaceship. He is taken in by a boy called Elliot, played absolutely brilliantly by Henry Thomas. Dubbed ET, the alien and Elliot get to know each other gradually, each developing trust in the other, and sharing an odd kind of psychic link. There's a poignancy in the friendship, as Elliot is a stressed, often lonely boy whose parents have recently separated. He's the middle child of three, teased by his brother (Robert MacNaughton) and sometimes irritated by his small sister (a very young Drew Barrymore).
Unfortunately ET can't survive for long on earth; we never really discover why in any detail. Worse still, government officials want to capture him, worried about alien contamination, so that in the end the children have to fight to get him away. I had forgotten most of the details of the story, and enjoyed it very much. I would have liked more scenes with Elliot and ET, and fewer of the later more tense ones that featured fast action - but the whole thing was brilliantly done, directed by Steven Speilburg, with a very moving end.
Supposedly this film is for children, with a PG rating on both sides of the Atlantic. This sounds about right, since it would be fine for many children of about nine or ten and upwards, but it would probably not be understood by much younger ones.
Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews