Film Review: Terri

The awkward, lonely, and isolating reality of being an outcast in high school has been at the heart of a number of films but possibly never given such a sensitive and honest illustration as in director Azazel Jacobs new film Terri.   The film centers on the 15 year old overweight and dejected character of Terri, played superbly by Jacob Wysocki, who lives with his enfeebled Uncle James, played by The Office’s Creed Bratton, and as Terri begins to disengage from school and life in general he is then confronted by a familiar spirit in his vice-principal Mr. Fitzgerald played by John C. Reilly.

The film is unique in its untraditional approach which has comedic moments juxtaposed with interactions approaching a greater and very powerful sense of truth making for a film which denies categorization aside from calling it a coming of age film.   The clash between the dramatic realities and the more whimsical comedic moments are a bit perplexing at times but the moments themselves, especially the scenes between Terri and Mr. Fitzgerald are redeeming.  The film also doesn’t skirt the realities of modern day high school with its representation of sex, drugs, and bullying as we see Terri and his fellow outcasts, the misfit Chad Markson (Bridger Zadina) and the sexually awakened Heather Miles (Olivia Crocicchia), deal with the temptations and repercussions of each.

Ultimately, this film is great for its lack of convention which allows the filmmakers to explore Terri’s character and his sense of heart without succumbing to any pre-drawn, typical conclusions and in turn allowing the film to exist without forcing an unrealistic pace or narrative.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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