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The Wise Kids

by Katie Abate
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Tuesday Jan 8, 2013
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Set in the south in Charleston, South Carolina Stephen Cone’s "The Wise Kids" demonstrates how coming of age challenges values. The movie opens with a youth group’s reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion, setting the stage, so to speak, for the characters’ overtly Christian values. Austin’s (the church choir director) infatuation with one of his students, Tim (Tyler Ross) is demonstrated from the beginning, in the incredibly awkward way of someone who has not totally discovered his own sexuality. As a matter of fact, Austin (Cone) is married to Elizabeth (Sadieh Rifai), who also runs the choir with him.

Also evident from the beginning is Tim’s classmate Brea’s (Molly Kunz) questioning of her faith, an even more difficult position to be in since her father is the preacher of the church. She asks Tim if he "ever think{s} about what we’d believe if our parents believed different things?" She thinks that her parents could have told her anything and she would have believed it, while Tim remains unshaken in his faith, despite his recent coming-out. Laura (Allison Torem), another friend "double-checked and it’s definitely wrong" that Tim is gay and Christian; she claims it is a paradox to be both. She never actually says the word "gay," though, nor does any character, until the very end; they all only alluded to it, illustrating its major taboo in Christianity.

Despite the controversy in topics such as doubting faith and sexuality, the movie is very flat, always on the verge of an exciting event, but never quite making it.

Despite the controversy in topics such as doubting faith and sexuality, the movie is very flat, always on the verge of an exciting event, but never quite making it. I’m not entirely sure if the point of the movie was to further separate homosexuality and faith, because that’s how it seemed. Also missing were the very poor introductions (or lack thereof) of some characters that appeared toward the end of the film.

Honestly, I think the concept of the film is very interesting: mixing sexuality with religion is a bold move, especially when it comes to confusion and doubt in both areas. But I do not think it was carried out as well as it could have been artistically; there were several scenes that seemed to have no point or place in the film. The acting was actually not terrible, though at some points I wasn’t sure whether it was the characters who were supposed to be awkward, or just awkward acting. I really just wish the movie had more body; even though things were happening it just seemed like nothing happened at all.

"The Wise Kids"
DVD
On DVD January 8, 2013
http://wolfereleasing.com/

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