Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Wise Kids

The Wise Kids, dir. Stephen Cone, 2011, USA, 91 min.  [trailer: YouTube, Vimeo]
Saturday 6/16, 4:00pm @ Castro, WISE16C

Tyler Ross, Alison Torem, and
Molly Kunz in The Wise Kids

Three kids in Charleston, South Carolina, are nearing the end of high school and heading off to college. As they make the transition, they come to terms with questioning their religious faith (raised Southern Baptist) and their sexuality. Tim (Tyler Ross, on the left in the photo) is beginning to come out as gay and decides to leave the Deep South for the Big Apple. Brea (Molly Kunz, on the right) is the preacher’s daughter, but she has doubts about her faith: in particular, would she believe the same things if her parents didn’t? Laura (Alison Torem, center) clings to her Christianity as the center of her life, even as it begins to alienate her from her friends.

I’ve seen a number of films at Frameline that try (and mostly fail) to reconcile being both Christian and gay. David Lewis’ film Redwoods (Frameline 33) was so bad I walked out, unfortunately having failed to notice it was by the same director who made Rock Haven (Frameline 31; a film bogged down in part by music from Jack Curtis Dubowsky, who made and scored the worst film I saw this year). I thus came into The Wise Kids with a bit of a jaundiced eye, but the treatment of the kids’ efforts at balancing Christian faith with the rest of their lives is remarkably balanced and authentic. The kids are sweet and sympathetic, but not saccharine, allowing those of us lucky enough not to have grown up Southern Baptist to relate to them more than you might expect. Highly recommended.

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