Due to the death of his mother, a teenage boy comes back into the life of his estranged father. Neither are really happy about their new circumstances and butt heads often.
Though this happens in a rural/small town environment it is far from idyllic. Everyone seems rather poor and close minded. In high schools kids are getting bullied and beaten while adults seem to spend their time selling things at flea markets, hunting deer, drinking, and hiring prostitutes. Poor white trash is how many would see them.
15-year-old Shaw’s (Nolan Lyons – Bridge of Spies, Can’t Come Out to Play) whole existence seems to be his mother. Karen Templeton (Amy Hargreaves – from television’s Homeland) is a sick woman and her teenage son takes care of her. When she dies and it is found out, the authorities call in Shaw’s father, William (James Le Gros – Drugstore Cowboy, Point Break – 2015). Karen and William had divorced as they had fallen out of love, and, as William describes, he was an alcoholic, which did not help things. So Shaw never really knew his father.
So when they are forced by circumstance to live together neither is really pleased. Each has settled into a life and sees being together as upsetting to their routines. It is going to take some work to be happy about this.
Director Nick Frangione (Roxie) leans on his own memories growing up in rural Pennsylvania to be the hand guiding the film along. A film like this one, quiet with repressed emotions running underneath the surface, is a tricky one in that the director has to have a vision of how to tell the story then kinda get out of the way. Being too heavy handed would totally mess things up.
Teen years are tough enough without having the one person who was always in your corner ripped away from you. Young actor Nolan Lyons has to bring Shaw to us – an angry outsider who now has a broken heart and no support from a father he doesn’t really know – while juggling the ask of balancing angry/rebellious with likeable. We have to feel sympathy for Shaw no matter how he acts out.
This is a land of damaged souls. No one in the town seems to have their act together. No matter what age they are. So it is a kind of emotional minefield for someone as young and vulnerable as Shaw. There is no guidance or love for him.
While this is not exactly an attention grabber of a film – meaning it will not appeal to the masses – there certainly is a value in it. It depicts the reality of a bigger slice of the population than we would have thought.