or How Chris Deserves An Award For Crying On Screen
….. by DomesticElephant
Actually there are three plots in this movie and at least two plots are connected to each other in some way. One storyline is about school principal Carter (played by Forest Whitaker) in Chicago, who is struggling to juggle his responsibilities as both principal and father, worried that he’s failing at both. Fighting against the use of firearms at his school in the violent inner-city neighborhood proves a hard task, and his commitment to his school and its students leads to shortcomings where his family life is concerned.
The second plot takes place somewhere in Oregon, where single mother Janet (Marcia Gay Harden) tries to lead a small-town ordinary life with her son David (that would be Chris). However, her sometimes not so ordinary life is still haunted by the fact that her eldest son Robbie went Columbine at his school three years ago, shooting and killing several students and then himself. And it is Janet and David who have yet to come to grips with the tragedy. They never talk about it, and they deal with their own grief in their own way. Especially Janet still lives in the past, she won’t allow David to move his brother’s memorabilia out of what used to be his and Robbie’s room. The situation gets more complicated when she is asked to give a TV interview about the horrible incident. Over it, she loses her job. For David that means they can’t afford private school anymore so that he has to go to Ridgeline High, where the shooting happened. At the new school David meets Tally, an attractive girl that he is immediately drawn to. And while David silently falls for Tally, the next tragedy in his life isn’t far away.
The third storyline is about college girl Maryanne (Linda Cardellini) whose grandfather (Donald Sutherland) owns a gun shop. When one of her friends gets attacked and raped at a party, she decides to learn how to handle a gun to be able to defend herself, even though everything she believes in tells her that it’s not right to use firearms as weapons and that people, especially her grandfather, seem to take the power they give you as a person for granted.
David Huttenson, the most devastated teenager you’ll ever know. You’re gonna love him if you’re into emotional intensity when it comes to movies.
The plot about David and Janet is the most interesting one, at least I think so. But I also liked the plot about high school principal Carter.
There really wasn’t anything to dislike, I just didn’t like the third storyline about Maryanne and her grandfather that much. In my opinion there was no real plot in this story, but that might just be me.
I can’t recall any specific quotes, but I really loved the conversation between mother and son in Janet’s bedroom.
Interestingly, Chris co-starred with a couple of people that he would work with again. Marcia Gay Harden (Janet) would play Justin Chatwin’s mother in The Invisible, and Amanda Seyfried (Mouse) co-starred with Chris in Alpha Dog.
This movie is the debut work of director Aric Avelino. It may not be a masterpiece, but it’s still a wonderful movie and you can see that the director has a lot of potential.