Directed by: Roger Hill
Written by: #RogerHill
A coming-of-age narrative blended with a revenge fantasy, #lgbt indie film Huckleberry from filmmaker Roger Hill, is a tale of the twisted type. From its small town mindset pioneering to its complex exploration of gender, it is a movie daring to be bold.
Daniel Fisher-Golden plays the titular Huckleberry, a transgender misfit whose high school life is full of angst, rebellion, and an absorbing crush on classmate Jolene (Sarah Ulstrop). After learning of Jolene's mistreatment at the hands of her cocaine-addicted boyfriend Clint (Justin Rose), Huck (as only his friends call him) takes matters into his own hands with resounding consequences.
With plenty in common with other great #comingofage movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Love, Simon, Roger Hill's Huckleberry steps into a cherished genre with his best foot forward. This is an emphatic piece of filmmaking told with a ferocity rare on an indie budget. And much like those aforementioned movies, Hill knows which tools to grab from his filmmaker's kit to elicit the correct response from his target audience.
The music is poignantly chosen, layering the scenes with atmospheric angst. The #cinematography is tranquil at times before being juxtaposed with intimate framing of the suffering of particular characters. A particular highlight was the use of decrepit buildings as Huck and Jolene drive by, symbolic of a town buried in its old ideals and traditions, forgotten by the rest of society.
From a performance perspective, Fisher-Golden does well to hold the central role. It's not a perfect turn and some of his delivery feels wooden yet the passion is obvious and he copes well with the varying demands of the character. It is Ulstrop who impresses the most. Her fierce, nuanced portrayal of Jolene was utterly arresting, throwing herself into emotional outbursts with complete devotion. The supporting cast are fairly decent, in particular Jahking Guillory as Huck's loyal friend.
Opting to deal with a plethora of pubescent issues, Roger Hill is a storyteller unafraid to tackle large topics. Huckleberry's transgenderism isn't so dominating that it drowns the piece but it is a very strong aspect to the movie. The way in which he faces small town ignorance and embedded stigmas is dealt with superbly. The indie movie also explores or touches on topics such as domestic abuse, drug addiction, and racism.
Having set the movie at the end of the '90s, the film doesn't really feel like a period piece. Replace the pager and Gameboy with an iPhone and the world is basically the same. Which, I think, is the tragic point.
Watch the official movie trailer below.