Metro Weekly

Growing Up is Hard

Reel Affirmations 2004

Review by Will Doig

Rating: starstarstarstar (4 out of 5)

Thursday, 10/21/2004, 6:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $0 at Cecile Goldman Theater at the DCJCC

THOSE OF US who grew up in the socially tolerant north instinctively assume that coming out in the trailer parks of rural, red-state America means a fist to the cheekbone, which is why Puberty in Pink () is both so squirmingly uncomfortable and yet ultimately satisfying. The nuanced reactions of 12-year-old Jeremy’s elders — his whore-by-night mother and her GMC-driving cowboy lover — to his sudden appearance in mom’s splashy slutwear and makeup manage to surprise over and over in this film’s short sixteen minutes. You’re left feeling bittersweet and happy not to have been pandered to.

Likewise in A Different War () , which traces a similar struggle of sorts, that of a young boy in Israel trying to reconcile his sensitive nature with a warrior culture. His brother and friends scale security walls to scream hate-speak at the Arabs on the other side. Becoming a man means to risk being shot at but, in the end, everyone finds a way to grow up without compromising their true natures.

The program closes with a 20-minute weird-out called Fairies () . It’s hard to know where to begin. Prep school dodge ball turns ironic camp musical? Love story via the locker room? The film is bizarrely off-kilter, filled with non-sequiturs, and only occasionally gains a foothold in reality. I liked it. I think. I laughed. Nervously. But laughed nonetheless. Worth seeing for the soundtrack if nothing else.

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Growing Up is Hard

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