Small But Mighty: These Movie Kids’ Talents Will Amaze You

From The Book of Henry to Hanna, meet five exceptional children characters.

As Focus Features' upcoming The Book of Henry proves, you should never underestimate the power of a really smart kid. In Colin Trevorrow’s family drama—in theaters on June 16th—Henry (Jaeden Lieberher) is in many ways just a normal 12-year-old living with his mom (Naomi Watts) and little brother (Jacob Tremblay) in a small suburban town. But his brilliant creativity enables him not only to take care of his family, but also engineer a remarkable plan to save his 12-year-old neighbor Christina (Maddie Ziegler) from a dangerous secret.

Henry isn't the only kid whose amazing talents leave us in awe. As part of Focus Features' 15th anniversary celebration, we showcase four other kids whose special powers help them save the day.

Discover The Book of Henry in the official trailer.

Conor O'Malley teams up with a tree in A Monster Calls.

In J. A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls, a young boy named Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is overwhelmed by nightmares, bullies, and sadness about his ailing mother (played by Felicity Jones). To confront his woes, he forges a mystical connection with an ancient yew tree—voiced by Liam Neeson—that uproots itself to come to the young man’s defense. Adapted by Patrick Ness from his own bestselling book, the film delivers an incredible feat itself, “creating an intensely moving fairy tale for today,” notes USA Today

Get A Monster Calls now on iTunes or at Amazon.

Lewis MacDougall finds a sturdy ally in A Monster Calls.

Norman sees dead people in ParaNorman.

In Sam Fell’s and Chris Butler’s stop-motion adventure ParaNorman, the young hero Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) talks to ghosts, a supernatural talent that makes him the butt of jokes and the victim of bullies. Of course, no one is laughing when Norman’s unique power helps him save his hometown of Blithe Hollow from a centuries-old curse. Despite being considered a bit weird, Norman embraces his connection to the dead. “He's not angst ridden. He's actually more than comfortable with his gift,” exclaims Butler

Get ParaNorman now on iTunes or at Amazon.

Norman checks in with his nonliving friends in ParaNorman trailer. 

Hanna has both heart and muscle. 

In Joe Wright’s Hanna, the title character, a 16-year-old girl (played by Saoirse Ronan), is trained by her father (Eric Bana) to unleash the fury of her fighting skills when a rogue CIA agent (Cate Blanchett) comes after her. In an adventure that moves from the Arctic Circle to the African desert to the Berlin underground, Hanna outwits both intelligence agents and paid thugs in her quest to fulfill her destiny. The character’s real superpower, however, ultimately proves to be her heart, not her strength. “I thought, ‘This is going to be a badass kid’,” Ronan tells W magazine. “But she turned into something else.” (Joe Wright will explore the talents of a real-life hero in his upcoming Darkest Hour.)

Get Hanna now on iTunes or at Amazon.

See the world of Hanna in this official trailer. 

Brendan Frye turns teen detective in Brick.

In Rian Johnson’s thriller Brick, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, a Southern California student out to dig up the truth about his ex-girlfriend’s murder. In transforming this high school tale into a noirish drama, Johnson made sure that Brendan had "that feel that Bogart had.” Gordon-Levitt perfectly imbues his character with a hard-boiled sensibility, making him, as the A.V. Club notes, “the Sam Spade of this movie [able] to project confidence, intelligence, and a drive to get to the bottom of a mystery.”

Get Brick now on iTunes or at Amazon.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt channels Sam Spade in Brick.

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