30 Jan 2022
Gavin White, Kari White, Rodney Williams, Sam Holeman
A single mother desperately tries to help her teenage son who is dealing with the emotional consequences after going through a traumatic experience.
Widowed mother Rachel (Kari White) lives with her son Charlie (Gavin White) in a large, smart house. A while ago, Charlie was involved in a terrible incident and he has not been the same since. He has become distant, quiet and unsociable and Rachel is doing her best to keep things together. Now Charlie has disappeared and the police are looking for him.
This is a psychological drama and thriller that focuses on the post-traumatic stress disorder that a young boy is going through. The narrative is nonlinear and cuts between a detective (Williams) interviewing Rachel in her home about her missing child and flashbacks that are shown in non-chronological order and reveal Charlie's emotional state and how it affected his relationship with his mother.
The pace is rather slow, the camera is almost constantly stationary and there are many long takes. Nearly the entire story takes place inside the house and much of the film shows Charlie engaging in various activities such as drawing, working out, performing an act and spending a great deal of time by himself, either being very quiet or showing signs of anger as he struggles with his emotions. The film also explores in depth how he interacts with his mother, which creates rather dramatic scenes. The screenplay effectively captures the isolation that Charlie is going through.
There are only a handful of characters in this feature and they all do a good job. Gavin White is convincing as a sad and angry teenager who does not know how to deal with his feelings and has cut himself off from the rest of the world. Karen White is quite emotional as the parent who cares deeply for her child and worries about him.
Ybarra directs very well and develops wonderful establishing shots of nature. Composer Sean Thomas delivers a score that is dramatic and there is also a variety of songs from different artists.
This movie is a character study. It is a slow-burning drama about post-traumatic stress disorder, the importance of support and finding the strength to deal with the past and move on. Some may find the slow pace a bit hard to deal with, however this is an interesting piece of work that deserves recognition.