Electrick Children | Film Review


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Written and directed by Rebecca Thomas, Electrick Children is her debut film. It is an indie coming-of-age piece that is neither drama nor comedy, but an embodiment of the raw glory of unadulterated youth depicting innocence and realism. 

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Set in a fundamentalist enclave of Mormons in Utah, Electrick Children stars Julia Garner as naive, fifteen year-old Rachel McKnight, the ill-begotten daughter of a musician who drives a red Mustang.

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While listening to an obscure rock song on a baby blue cassette for the first time, Rachel's brother, Mr. Will (Liam Aiken), takes it away, stating that cassettes are only to be used for purposes relating to God.
   Soon after, Rachel finds out that she's pregnant, and is certain that she was miraculously impregnated, like the Virgin Mary, because she's chaste as heck. But, she believes she was conceived by means of the cassette. After thoroughly being questioned by her parents, they blame her brother for her pregnancy, seeing as they both live in the same shabby basement. Mr. Will is asked to leave the community, and Rachel is told that she's to be married the following day.

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Instead of obeying her parents by marrying an unknown man picked out by her father Paul (Billy Zane), Rachel runs away to Las Vegas in the family's pickup truck with the cassette machine. Mr. Will stowed himself in the bed of the pickup truck in hopes of getting Rachel to confess who really impregnated her to clear his name.
   There, after seeing a guy in a shirt with a baby blue cassette on it, Rachel and Mr. Will join the guy and his friends, a group of skaters, who all live together and play in a band. It's beseeming that Rachel and her brother would latch on to this group, because both parties are just as lost as another. She becomes romantically involved with one of the skaters named Clyde (Rory Culkin).

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Later, he proposes [marriage] to her, says that they can look for the voice on the cassette tape, and that she could leave him when they find the voice. After a visit to Clyde's parents' house goes amiss though, Mr. Will is arrested and Rachel flees.

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Seeing a red Mustang, and remembering a bedtime story her mother had once told her about mustangs, Rachel impulsively followed the car. She discovers that the man who's driving the car not only recorded the cassette tape, but is, in fact, her biological father. 
   After much deliberation, Rachel decided to return home. Her biological father bails Mr. Will out of jail because he's looking for Rachel. Though they admit to not having a plan, they still drive off to the community. On their way to there, they find Clyde, whose van broke down on the highway. So, picking him up, all three of them set off to the community, and once they arrived, Rachel's wedding is taking place. As she is about to wed, they pull up in front of the church and rescue her. 

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Mr. Will returns to the community, where he plays a cassette recording to his and Rachel's mother, Gay Lynn (Cynthia Watros). Rachel is firmly stating that she believes God has engendered her child, in the recording. Their mother hugs him, and promptly leaves the room, thus allowing the belief that Mr. Will has been cleared of all charges.
   The film then ends with the song on the baby blue cassette playing whilst the tides wash the shore, as Clyde and Rachel, who live in a tent by the beach, hold hands and walk through the waves.

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While there are many unanswered questions left in Electrick Children, the magic of the millennial era, lost youth, and love in all of its forms, make it a truly remarkable film. A film's best aspect is the ability to prompt pensive moods within its audience after watching, and this film certainly does get you thinking. From the cinematography to the Little House on the Prairie girl getting her first kiss from the rich-reject, rock 'n roll guy, Electrick Children captivates its audiences and makes them wish they were part of the story themselves.

Watch the trailer below, and find the film on Amazon or at your nearest video store.


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