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In the 60's, in West Texas, twelve year-old Ben is a boy neglected by his parents. His mother is obsessed by the movie stars of Hollywood and every afternoon she goes to the movie theater, while his father spends his spare time building a boat. One night, there is a car wreck in front of Ben's parents dining where only the girl Cassie survives with a broken arm. Ben's parents lodges Cassie during her recovery and she becomes friend of Ben. Later the mature girl convinces Ben to travel with her to Baltimore, where her modern and liberal aunt and uncle live. They hitchhike through Arkansas, Kentucky and Virginia in a journey of friendship and discoveries until they reach Baltimore. Their adventure ends when Cassie has a breakdown and is interned in the Mercy Psychiatric Ward in Virginia and Ben joins the Military Academy in North Caroline to stay close to Cassie. But the girl had a plan for them and Ben gives his best effort to make her dream come true. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
There are many films that are like this on first impression. Road trips and coming of age stories have become, for the most part, worn out genres in Hollywood. But sometimes a little gem like this one will slip through the cracks.
The story is simple: boy and girl meet up, travel the road together, meet some colourful characters, unforeseen tragedy strikes, all leading to a bitter-sweet ending. It's all been done many times before. But not like this. I don't mean to say that this is the best road trip/coming of age film, simply that it is unique in it's style and visual look.
Despite the fact that it came out in 2007, this movie has the look of a film from the sixties or seventies. The camera quality is not very good, and the whole picture feels tinged with some sepia (?) colouring.
It feels almost as if it were made unprofessionally, though the appearance of notable actors like Val Kilmer, Heather Graham, and AnnaSophia Robb suggests otherwise.
In short, it looks like it was filmed by the same camera that did Birdemic. But perhaps the most endearing quality to this film is it's slightly amateurish look.
It seems like it should be either a complete sentimental schlock-fest , or a no budget trashy direct to video.
But it isn't.
It succeeds on several levels emotionally, and provides characters we grow to care for. If you can get past the grainy visuals you will find a story of surprising depth.
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