Writer & Director: Terracino
Stars: Fabio Costaprado, Quentin Araujo, and Elena Goode
Elliott Loves is two stories in one: present day twenty-one year old Elliot (Fabio Costaprado), and young eleven year old Elliot (Quentin Araujo). It is also a comedy with a few heartfelt moments of drama.
Elliot is an accident. The product of a high school fling where his father wanted nothing to do with Ma (Elena Goode) after she became pregnant. Ma tries the best she can, but unfortunately that is far from good enough. An example of her excellent parenting skills is when Ma makes-up a story that Elliot’s grandparents have passed away in order to pull him out of school. She does this to celebrate her imaginary victory of both Showcase Showdown packages in the Price is Right–meaning that she guessed the right price while watching the show on TV. She also develops a track record for dating men that are both losers and unemployed. Though only a child, Young Elliot is forced to act the adult. But the status quo cannot last. The eventual tension of the situation comes to a head, and words a parent should never say to their child are said.
The results of those words still run deep in present day Elliot. He’s a lovable romantic with self-esteem issues who falls in love after one date, and suffers from a long running string of short-term relationships. Elliot is looking for love in all the wrong places with all the wrong people. Will he eventually find love and put the past behind him?
The script by Terracino has one of the best 1st & 2nd Acts in an independent film I have seen in a long time, with witty dialogue and scenarios. The 3rd Act only suffers in comparison to the first two, and is also solid. The introduction scenes for both Young and Present Day Elliot are hilarious, and effectively show you everything you need to know about the character at that stage of their life–you are given a solid baseline from which each character develops. The character of Ma is also carefully crafted and genuine. Though you can’t forgive her neglect of Elliot and the poor choices she makes, you do understand where she is coming from.
The acting is strong across the board, with Quentin Araujo (Young Elliot) stealing every scene he is in. Though the role lends itself to an over-the-top performance, Quentin skirts that line masterfully. Fabio Costaprado (Present Day Elliot) also delivers a good performance; finding the right balance between the funny and the dramatic. Elena Goode (Ma) was surprisingly effective in the dramatic scenes; overcoming my preconception of her abilities based on her youthful appearance and how good she was in the comedic scenes. The only negative of her performance was more a function of costuming and make-up: she didn’t look old enough in the present day.
Overall Elliot Loves takes you on a ride that will make you laugh and make your heart-break, but in the end let you know Elliot will be all right.
Grade = B+