THE KISS is directed by Joffre Faria Silva and Written by Barbara de la Fuente who also plays Mrs. Tancredi. Setting the action in the 50's is a smart way of showing that despite making advances in the subject of Gay rights, we are still not that ahead. The wardrobe, sets and colors all transport us to a different time period, but there's still something inherently modern, perhaps it's the subject, perhaps is the naturalistic direction and performances. The script is simple, yet there is a clear and succinct message that resonates with modern audiences, the set-up is uncomplicated, but still layered with different motivations and details that on second look enrichen the experience. THE KISS may be brief in its run-time, but returning to it more than once elevates the experience and certain details come to the light. Above all, this is a film that is held together by its performances. The standouts include Barbara de la Fuente herself, as a mother that knows who her child is and that will stand for him in the face of bigotry, however her pain is clear when she realizes that her son will never be safe from people who don't understand him, and that scene where she begs the question of why Paul can't be "normal" shows how afraid she is for his future in a world that won't accept him. Denise DeSanctis role as Mrs. Williams is complex, she could have easily played Williams as nothing but a bigot, but she's multidimensional. A woman torn between upholding a strict and retrograde disciplinary code and knowing that she's deep down a hypocrite who has allowed this views to tear her family apart. Savannah Burton makes a brief but pivotal appearance as Bettina, William's transgender sister, she's surprised that her rigorously conservative sister would shot at her door, and that moment when she realizes that the only reason her estranged sister could have paid her a visit could be only to deliver bad news of a death in the family tells volumes on how apart both women are. Young Victor Gilbert also portrays the innocent complexity of Paul Tancredi, a boy who is exploring his place in the world and how he just wants to be accepted and acknowledged for who he or she is. Overall, this is a successful effort to show audiences that we are still stuck in some old ways due to outdated religious and hypocritical "moral" views that keep people from accepting others, in some cases loved members of their own families.
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