I am normally cynical when it comes to watching movies, and can always shrug off emotional ones by arguing that it is just celluloid. But Unstrung Heroes had me tearing for some reason. I don't think it was the excellent acting on many counts, or the fact that it is generally tragic that affected me. I think it was the depressing normality of it.
The unstrung heroes in this case are a 8 year old boy, Steven Lidz (Nathan Watt), aka Franz, his Spinoza-quoting inventor father ( John Turturro), and his two eccentric uncles (Michael Richards and Maury Chaykin). When the boy's mother falls ill, he decides to live with his uncles and indulges in their eccentricity, as well as in some religion and ball collection. This doesn't go over well with this father, who purports to be highly rigourous and logical. The movie dramatises the conflict between the boy's growth, the craziness of his uncles, the determinism of his father, and his mother's illness.
Pain is relative is the moral of this movie, at least for me.