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Kid-Thing (2012)

 -  Drama  -  25 May 2013 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 284 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 5 user | 31 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

Annie is girl with no moral compass, thanks to a complete lack of parental supervision. One day, while playing in the woods, a voice calls out to her from deep within an abandoned well, causing her to consider the right course of action.

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Title: Kid-Thing (2012)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Sydney Aguirre ...
Annie
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Marvin
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Phone Mechanic
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Zack Carlson ...
Convenience Store Clerk
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Caleb
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Storyline

On the outskirts of Austin, 10-year-old Annie tears around on her BMX bike, hurls dough at cars, and smashes things up with her baseball bat. Her father, a goat farmer-cum-demolition derby driver, does little parenting. Annie has no friends her age, so her daily routine is filled with solitary mischief. Playing in the woods one day, she hears a woman's plaintive call for help from an abandoned well. Though Annie feels driven to visit the well daily, she is unsure about how to deal with the woman's plight. Written by Sundance Film Festival

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25 May 2013 (USA)  »

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Susan Tyrrell's final film. See more »

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A peaceful story featuring loud subject matter
19 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Annie is a young girl with no parental supervision, no destined path in life, and is almost morally absent. Her days involve lumbering around her broken, decrepit town either shoplifting, eating, or just riding her bike in solitude. One day, she hears a voice call out helplessly from the bottom of a deep, dark well. It's sounds as if it belongs to an elderly woman who fell down the well and is hungry, desperate, and possibly injured. Annie is now at a quandary; this is likely the most responsibility in terms of choice and decision this girl has ever had and needs to take some position of action before it's too late.

David Zellner's Kid-Thing is an interesting film, solely for the purpose of its protagonist being so unpredictable, reckless, and, yet, so human that it's hard to turn your attention away from her. She is played by Sydney Aguirre, a young newcomer who handles the incredibly difficult role of playing a youth with crippled emotion stunningly. The camera is fixated on her for about seventy-five minutes out of the eighty-three minute affair, and she is never seen smiling or abandoning her default smug expression she has seemingly held forever. We can see quite clearly this is a fault of the broken environment she has inhabited for so long. It's a place - in the backwoods of Texas - that seems to have robbed little Annie of all emotional resonance and empathy.

Kid-Thing reminds me, most of all, of a film that popular trash director Harmony Korine or even transgressive auteur John Waters would make in their heydays. Korine, whose films Gummo and Julien-Donkey Boy are some of the best of the nineties, specializes in the commentary of broken, dismantled youths thanks to hopeless home-lives or community brokenness. His artistic vision would've greatly benefited an already gripping topic. Waters would've likely turned the subject into a short with more grittiness to the material, but no doubt both men would utilize shock-elements in their stories to amplify them to great effects.

Zellner uses the minimalist approach to tell this story, not looking to shock or appall, but to simply amuse, fascinate, and occasional mesmerize us with his talent for making the smaller moments beautiful and the entire picture elegant in its moral-emptiness. Making this material even remotely attractive, let alone watchable, is an achievement in its own right, and Zellner never seems to employ cheap glorification techniques on a story that is fragile and delicate. He, along with his brother, directed and starred in Goliath, another micro-budget independent film that generated much discussion.

Kid-Thing is a peaceful film dealing with subject matter, such as a broken adolescence, loss of innocence, and emotional vapidness, that is often loud and noticeable. This film takes time to build up scenes, many of them in particular, lack a payoff, which isn't always a bad thing. Pay close attention to the facial expressions of characters and the way they recite their lines; this is the first film ever where I don't believe I ever saw a character smile once.

Starring: Sydney Aguirre, Nathan Zellner, David Wingo, Zack Carlson, and Heather Kafka. Directed by: David Zellner.


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