After his mother dies, 15-year-old Charley must live with his unloving, bullying father. Out of loneliness, Charley strikes up an illicit romance with 29-year-old Eban. When their families find out, they must make a life-altering decision.
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Charley is turning 15. For the past year, since his mother's death, he has lived in Seaside, Oregon, with his stern and unloving father. It's Christmas week when Charley meets Eban, a young-looking 29-year-old teacher from Seattle, home for the holidays to see his parents. They have things in common: both sign (Charley's mother was deaf), both play the guitar, both are gay. As their relationship deepens during walks on the beach, singing, and talk of poetry, we see it from their point of view and also from the points of view of both of their fathers. Charley's loneliness gives way to happiness when he's with Eban. But what of this grown man?Written by
Some of the negative reaction this film induces can be attributed to the subject matter. In other words, any film ... regardless of the script, the direction, the casting, the acting, or any other technical element ... would be greeted with hostility by large numbers of people, simply because they disapprove that the subject is even being addressed. In this case, the subject is the relationship between a 29-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy.
For open minded viewers, this is a well made film, especially given that it is low budget. Eban is not some lecherous old man, the stereotyped image conjured up in the befuddled minds of moralistic puritans. Eban is caring and sensitive. He's not the least bit predatory. In fact, it's Charley, the boy, who advances the physical relationship as soon as he senses Eban's interest. And the film's plot is so bereft of sexual activity that it seems downright prudish. The only abominable behavior comes from the two guys' fathers, both of whom exude a pathological hatred toward their sons.
That said, a relationship involving a teenage boy must be examined skeptically. And I am doubtful that a long term relationship that benefits both Eban and Charley would actually work out. Still, Charley asks a valid question: "What about my rights?"
Overall acting is highly naturalistic. Characters pause before speaking, as would be expected of people communicating thoughtfully and seriously. Both lead actors act largely with their eyes. There's a lot of silence. Dialogue is sparse. The overall tone of the film is serious and very low-key. The story's ending is appropriate, given the plot circumstances.
"For nonconformity, the world whips you with its displeasure", said Ralph Waldo Emerson over a hundred years ago. I applaud the film's producer and director for having the courage to make a film that addresses an unpopular topic.
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