Because he's the oldest, Jake has been the man of the house, since his parents divorce. When Mom starts seeing Sam, who always seems to be trying some new way to get rich quick, and declares he's the man of the house now, Jake puts up with it. Until he discovers Sam's illegal activities.Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
First Born is good psychological exploration in the various signs of breakdown of kids dealing with tough family situations. Here, Christopher Collet (Prayer of the Rollerboys) is Jake Livingston, a fifteen year old kid who lives with his mom (Terri Garr) and younger brother, Brian (Corey Haim). And, things are fine for a while for Jake, despite his dad going to Montreal to marry his girlfriend, leaving Jake a tad sympathetic of his still single mother. But things quickly fall apart when his mom's new boyfriend, Sam (Peter Weller), enters the picture, and eventually moves in. While his mom has dated in the past, there is something about Sam that neither Jake nor Brian can tolerate. They can't figure out what their mother sees in this guy.
Sam is kind of a flake. He never gives too much information about his past. The longer that Sam stays, the worse things become. He starts getting violent towards the boy, he starts bringing drugs into the house, and Jake's mother eventually starts falling into the same dangerous patterns as Sam while neglecting her own boys who plead with her to realize what Sam is really all about. For the first born, Jake, this is not something he can ignore, and has the responsibility of finding a way to protect himself, his brother, and most of all, his mother.
This movie presents the kind of psychological breakdown kids may go through when faced with serious family issues. Before Sam arrived, Jake was a funny, easy going kid. He was a good student and spent a lot of time with his friends (one of whom was played by Robert Downey, Jr.) and girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker). Afterwards, both his and Brian's attitudes change for the worse. Jake becomes considerably thinner, irritable, and starts slacking academically. Likewise, Brian starts getting into a lot of fights in the schoolyard, beating up the kids he know he can win fights against. Plus, he hates coming home, and when he does, he spend much of the time locked in his room. It is a good film, too, to teach of the warning signs to parents, teachers, counselors, and so forth (Jake's dad couldn't be suspicious of anything was going on because he wasn't there to witness the changes in his sons).
I wish Christopher Collet had been in more movies. He appears again with Haim about six years later or so in the sci-fi movie, Prayer of the Rollerboys.
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