This Thursday, March 29th, the Evanston Public Library shows Chicago filmmaker Stephen Cone’s 2011 indie drama, The Wise Kids, in a special free screening arranged with ConeArts Films. This nuanced, finely-wrought film – called “a tender-hearted gem” in a recent New York Times review – is the story of three southern Christian teenagers grappling with faith, sexuality, and friendship as their high school years end and they embark on the wider world. Featuring a cast of fine, truthful young actors (as well as Cone, who turns in a complex performance as a married man struggling with his sexuality), The Wise Kids is like an Adam Haslett short story: full of subtlety, shades of gray, kindness and sorrow. It is also that rare beast: an empathic film that doesn’t condescend to or make insulting caricatures out of teens, but presents them in their natural state: sensitive, vulnerable, and capable of real thoughtfulness about deep issues of life. The Times again:
“The performances all capture the perplexity of sexually repressed people who are trying to do the proper Christian thing while coping with unruly desires that they recognize as challenges to their way of life. In its unassuming way, this tiny, low-budget film is a universal reflection on issues of personal identity and choice for which there are no easy answers.”
Winner of the Grand Jury Award for screenwriting and dramatic feature at LA’s OutFest and included on 4 “Best of 2011” lists including the Chicago Tribune (Michael Philips) and Chicago Reader (J.R. Jones), this free screening will be followed by a discussion with Cone and Tyler Ross, one of the film’s stars, and is only one of a few area screenings to date. Don’t miss it. (Jarrett, The Loft)
“…Lovely… Given the ongoing friction between gay rights and Christian fundamentalism, what really distinguishes The Wise Kids from most gay films—in fact, most films, period—is how evidently Cone respects religious devotion.” -J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader.