Teenage Kicks, 2016
Signed up the 29/03/2017
Teenage Kicks is 2016 Australian coming of age story directed by Craig Boreham, starring Miles Szanto, who delivers a powerful unpredictable performance in which he bares his soul and Daniel Webber in lead roles.
The film follows Miklós (Miles) whose life is thrown into chaos with the untimely death of his brother Tomi. This throws him as he tries to deal with his sexuality and feelings he has developed for his best friend Dan, his feelings towards Dan become more complicated when Dan gets a girl friend. Miklós goes through a journey of self discovery and grief.
Boy, oh boy this film was packed and is heavy, from the themes of trying to fit into the world (even your own family) to the themes of sexuality and grief the film never fails to give intense moments and moments where a character truly learns something. Each of these themes are treated in beautiful and distinct ways.
Craig Boreham handles the subject of fitting by having our main character sort of mimic his dead brother by having him wear his clothes and somewhat try to be a "care taker" to his pregnant girlfriend. His parents on the other hand rebuke him, there's a very powerful scene where one of the characters shouts at the father and says "one son is dead and the one that's here is dressing like him so that you can notice him". The scene had so much power because it was so simple and intense with its use of sound and camera angles, engaging us with its powerful performance.
The film has many scenes like that in which everything works and makes you feel something but Craig helps us calm by having our character escape the intensity by placing him into a world of bad habits and that's how grief is dealt with.
Miklós uses drugs and wreckless behaviour to numb the pain of his brother's death in which he blames himself (there's some truth here some would argue), Miklós finds himself heading towards the path of addiction and numbness, this particular part of Miklós journey was so relatable cause I was once him in this all to familiar process of death and how to deal with grief, "numbing the pain".
Unlike in what I've noticed in most queer films in which the characters sexual orientation is forced on us, Teenage Kicks moves away from that and looks it as just this teenager who is in love with a person who happens to be his best friend, a boy. His experiences are not limited to males but he also has his moments with females and even then you don't feel like it's forced or that his confused (and to a degree he is but not about this), he deep down knows and he just needs to accept.
The cinematography of Bonnie Elliott is superb and so fragile but hard hitting at the same time, sharp images and sounds that evoke emotional responses from the audience. The cinematography actually has moments when it makes you value the youthfulness of teenagehood and the human adolescent body.
This film is in my 10 personal favourites of all time, I did not come to this discussion lightly, took me over a month and rewatching the film and asking myself why do I love this film so much? Well it's because I related without being forced to relate. I didn't feel pity for the characters like I tend to do but I felt like I wasn't alone for once and that my story is being told and when a film does that, it's a sure win, this is another perfect hit for Australian cinema.
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