Writer & Director: Stephen Cone
Stars: Stephen Cone, Matt DeCaro
The Wise Kids is a very heartfelt film about coming of age and doubting your beliefs in a suburb of Charleston, SC. The triumvirate of friends that make up the core characters is each going through their issues. Tim will be starting at NYU in the Fall and has recently come out to his family and friends. Brie, who will also be attending NYU, is the preacher’s daughter who is doubting her beliefs. The last friend–whose name I’ve forgotten and cannot find, but I will call her Jess–has difficulties reconciling Tim’s homosexuality with their faith, doesn’t understand why Brie would choose to go to NYU with Tim and not with her to Weatherford, and has self-esteem issues about her own intelligence.
Based off the trailer I was excited to watch this movie. The film is tackling a very difficult time in a teenager’s life in a very heartfelt way. If the film had lived up to the trailer it would have been great, but it didn’t. The main issue is the screenplay. There is too much going on with too many characters. Besides the principle three kids and their families, we also have the Sunday School teacher and his wife, the youth minister and his wife, the elderly lady and her daughter, and some random people who pop in and then pop out for no apparent reason. With the exception of the Sunday School teacher & his wife–whose story ties in with Tim’s arc–all the rest are suppliferious and slow down the story.
As for the acting, for the most part it’s all good. The kids are great, and the adult actors good. They do portray the suburban life and character very well. Tim is awkward and has an internal strength. Brie has the right amount of maturity, and Jess conveys her angst of not getting it with her insecurity about her smarts and future. Sean, the Sunday school teacher, and his wife are believable as a couple that in the end want to be together, but are not in love.
The editing and dialogue are done well, but the film feels overly long because of all the extra characters and sub-plots. Overall I liked the film, but it could have been so much better.