Indie Gems: We The Animals
Don't be like them.
Little Jonah (Evan Rosado) lives with his volatile parents (Sheila Vand and Raúl Castillo) and two older brothers, Joel and Manny (Josiah Gabriel and Isaiah Kristian) He retreats to his imagination after his parents fights and when his brothers start to mimic their father's behavior.
This is a very thoughtful film and it's shot in somewhat of a cinema vérité style. The hand held camera makes you feel like you're in a home video. Like you're there with the boys. Cinematographer Zak Mulligan gets some stunning shots, not just of the actors but the scenery around them. The film occasionally transitions into Jonah's drawings as well, as equally erratic as his home life.
Rosado is a fascinating child to watch. Jonah knows how different he is from his brothers. The film explores his sexual orientation before he's old enough to put words to it. When a neighbor boy shows them porn, he finds himself watching the men. I think the way the film handled this was very beautiful, yet sad. We want Jonah to feel happy, loved, and accepted. And we know it's only going to get harder for him. Other scenes that stand out are the ones with his mother. We feel for her too, stuck with an abusive husband with no means to escape.
This is a short film, clocking in at 94 minutes. While it's a melancholy watch, it flies by.
Watched on: Netflix DVD
Memorable quote: "You're not 10. You're 9 + 1" - Ma (Sheila Vand)