Retro Review: Powder (1995)

Sean Patrick Flanery is fantastic in the title role of Powder.

Synopsis: In Powder, an off-the-charts genius who is home schooled and shunned after his last relative dies shows the unconscious residents of his town about connection awareness and the generosity of the spirit.


The Story

When his grandparents die. Jeremy ‘Powder’ Reed, a teenage albino boy is taken into care by the authorities. Pretty soon Jeremy begins to exhibit not only an off-the-scale genius IQ but also displays powers involving electricity and magnetism. We also learn that he can read people’s thoughts and feelings with just a glance. But is also able to connect on a deeper level when he has physical contact with them.

Jessie Caldwell, who runs the boy’s home where Jeremy is sent knows he is special right away and goes to some effort to help him acclimate to life in the small town. Unfortunately, Jeremy is bullied by the other boys and becomes an object of both fear and fascination by the townsfolk. However, as time passes Jeremy is able to win a few people over as he uses his powers to help them. 


The Acting

Sean Patrick Flanery is fantastic in the title role of Powder. I could both sympathize and relate to his character almost right away. This is perhaps in no small part due to how it is set up at the beginning of the film. Over the course of the movie, we get some great scenes depicting Jeremy’s struggle to fit in as he knows why he is being bullied because he seems to know people’s motivations upon meeting them. Almost like he is seeing both the light and the dark side of humanity all in one go. Flanery plays this brilliantly.

Mary Steenburgen is solid as Jesse who takes Jeremy to the boy’s home that she runs and tries to help him fit in, which seems to be Jeremy’s biggest issue. He can’t fit in because he is just too different. Which is something that becomes very apparent to all concerned by the end of the film.

We also get great performances from Lance Henriksen as the Sheriff and Jeff Goldblum the super geeky science teacher who sees Jeremy’s potential and has a really cool scene when Jeremy demonstrates a fun little trick.



Powder is a bittersweet fable, which isn’t overly flashy or slick. It is a very small contained story with a lot of heart. All the characters are easy to relate to. Even the ones that you are not supposed to like. It is a film that illustrates the importance of human connection as well as the potential love that we all carry inside of us. In some ways, the film could be looked upon as somewhat of a “Christ Allegory” when it comes to how it depicts Jeremy connecting with the people that he encounters and what he does for them.

Overall. A solid fantasy film, if you can park your logical brain in your butt and just enjoy the ride.

Powder (1995)
  • Story
  • Acting
  • VFX & Stunts
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
No Comment