The term, "Coming of Age," is overused these days when it comes to films. In "The Wise Kids," these high school graduates have already reached adulthood, they just don't like how they turned out, at least not at first.
Austin (Stephen Cone who also directed, wrote and produced this film) is the musical director for a South Carolina Baptist church. He is married to Elizabeth who is starved for real affection. Austin is gay and while it's obvious, he is still coming to terms with his sexuality. He does try to be 'straight, it's painful to watch his attempts.
Austin has eyes for fresh faced Tim (Tyler Ross), who seems to know he's gay. As the film progresses the audience finds out in very sweet ways that he is indeed gay.
Brea, (Molly Kunz), is the pastor's daughter. There is no easy way to grow up as the daughter of the leader of the church. All eyes are on you and nobody is perfect. Brea's best friend is a rather odd girl named Laura (Allison Torem). Laura is the kind of girl that exists in almost every high school in the country. Hyper-religious, but deep down feels her life spiraling out of control, especially when Brea decides to attend the college that Tim is attending and not the college that Laura is attending.
We witness this set of friends who seem eclectic, but are really very similar, wait for their turn at college to arrive.
Tim's brother is struggling with his brother's sexuality, while his dad isn't doing as well with it as Tim had thought. Laura is feeling alone, unwanted and as a result can't take it when anyone hints that she is stupid.
Brea is having questions about God and his existence. On one hand, she has her dad who must be pleased, or so she thinks. On the other hand, she is close to an elderly church member, Mrs. Powell (Ann Whitney) who believes that Brea is perfect. Mrs. Powell's granddaughter Cheryl (Sadie Rogers) is an unapproachable young woman who just really needs some attention. Brea tries to get her to break out of shell.
The kids go off to college and when they return, the knowing much more than when they left. It becomes clear that "The Wise Kids" is a 'Coming of Age' story after all and a good one.
"The Wise Kids" has won several awards at the LGBT festivals such as "The Outfest" and some at the "Newfest." Regardless of your sexual status, this is a good film, completely acceptable for your 'tweens to watch.
Out today on DVD, "The Wise Kids" is fresh, sweet and doesn't miss its teachable moments.
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