The Wise Kids

The Wise Kids


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

In close-knit American Christian communities, wisdom is traditionally passed down from the old to the young, just as it passes from the ancient texts into the modern age. But can there be times when it needs to flow in the opposite direction?

Tim (Tyler Ross) is gay. He's thought about it for a long time; it's difficult because he still believes strongly in God and wants to remain part of his community, but he's ready to come out. Brea (Molly Kunz) is having a crisis of faith, struggling to reconcile what she has been taught with the questions that keep arising in her mind, and she's not sure where to turn for help. Then there's Laura (Allison Torem), a best friend who doesn't want to let them go, trying to balance her deeply held religious values with the loyalty and love she still feels.

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They're all nice kids who have absorbed key community values of honesty and compassion. Despite their differences, their commitment to doing what's right sets them apart from the adults, who are more prone to hypocrisy and to dealing with their conflicts in self-centered and destructive ways. Instead of asking simply how they can succeed in being true to themselves, the film asks if they are strong enough to influence the adults and show them a better way of living.

It's an interesting idea, and it's refreshing to see a film about intergenerational religious difference that focuses on love rather than conflict. Sadly this mature approach is not matched by the quality of the performances or script. Whilst Ross does a fair job and shows some promise, the two girls are bland and unengaging. The story aims for subtlety but too often ends up with nothing happening at all. A drawn-out timeline only emphasises the lack of character arcs going beyond isolated plot-point traits. It's well meaning but just doesn't sustain the weight of its ambition.

Worth watching for young people dealing with similar issues.

Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2012
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Three teenagers struggle with issues round religion and identity as one of them tries to come to terms with being gay.
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Director: Stephen Cone

Writer: Stephen Cone

Starring: Molly Kunz, Tyler Ross, Allison Torem, Matt DeCaro, Sadieh Rifai

Year: 2011

Runtime: 91 minutes

Country: US


Glasgow 2012

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