Suburban Development

White, popular kids get the blues too, as per this Canadian flick

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Giant Little Ones
Opens April 12
Roxy Theatre
3 out of 5

Never mind the corny title, Giant Little Ones is a step forward in the Canadian coming-of-age movie. It tackles teen sexual fluidity in an upfront, yet sensitive way, without even taking place at a cottage in the summer.

That said, it’s so thoroughly white and upper class it’s hard to empathize with the kids.

Popular Franky (Josh Wiggins, Mean Dreams) is skating through high school. His family life is a little more complicated: his dad (Kyle McLachlan!) has left home to live his life as a gay man — a development nobody has come to terms with.

The teen’s life gets considerably more complicated when, on his 17 birthday, his best friend Ballas (Darren Mann) gives him a blowjob. Franky starts questioning his sexuality, while Ballas makes up a story to hide his own orientation and pin the incident on Franky.

Forced to navigate some tricky waters, the young man finds support in Ballas’ sister (Taylor Hickson), a pariah, and Mouse (Niamh Wilson), a childhood friend who magically appears whenever Franky needs good advice. She’s not a product of his imagination, just a badly drawn character.

Mouse aside, Giant Little Ones creates complex teenage characters, much like the latest generation of U.S. teen dramas (Love, Simon and The Hate You Give). The adults, however, are one-note — which is a bit of a waste of McLachlan, Maria Bello and Peter Outerbridge.

Not all the age-appropriate actors succeed at conveying their inner struggles (most of the performances are latter day-Degrassi level). Wiggins, however, excels at this and carries the movie. Worth keeping an eye on him.

Plusses and minuses considered, Giant Little Ones wins by a head.

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