Like most kids, Ned idolized his father and dreamed of following in his footsteps. Unfortunately, his father was a two-bit crook who spent most of his life in jail. Without a family of his ... See full summary »
David E. Allen
This movie is done very well and definitely engaging to watch, but perhaps not quite to my taste.
This is a movie about a tight group of 4 children -- a precocious girl, an overweight boy, and twin brothers, the more out-going who is killed in an accident. The funeral starts the journey of understanding the lives of the remaining 3 -- not only how the family deals with the murdered son/brother, but how the overweight boy deals with his obesity, and how the young girl deals with her mother and absent father.
The heart of the movie really revolves around these near teenagers, and as a result, the coming-of-age experiences are highlighted. At times, I laughed awkwardly, probably out of embarrassment for one of the characters. Nothing wrong with this -- in fact, it's probably what the director was trying to achieve. I was also pulled into the bizarre logic the brother was going through -- through talks with his parents, and even more poignant, some of the very personal kid-to-kid conversations. The visual clues and the inter-actions to parents were all well chosen to create characters that were believable, 3-dimensional and full of conflict. Kudos to the director and actors on this fine work. In particular, the precocious young girl (Zoe Weizenbaum) was well-cast in a very strong, conflicted and convincing performance.
Overall -- well done. This is one of the best 'pre-teen-angst' movies I've seen in a long time.
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