Terri (2011)

Feature Film | Drama | USA | English | 1h45m | Dir: Azazel Jacobs | Scr: Patrick Dewitt | Story: Patrick Dewitt & Azazel Jacobs | DP: Tobias Datum | Prod: Alison Dickey, Hunter Gray, Lynette Howell, & Alex Orlovsky | Mus: Mandy Hoffman | Ed: Darrin Navarro | PD: Matt Luem | Cast: Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Bridger Zadina, Creed Bratton, Olivia Crocicchia
When his grades begin to fall and he acquires the habit of coming to school in his pyjamas, Terri (Wysocki), one of his small town school’s several monsters, a severely obese boy who lives with his heavily medicated uncle (Bratton) in the wake of his parents’ abandonment, catches the attention of the vice principal (Reilly) – himself is an admitted former monster – who manages to convince him to attend weekly counselling sessions, where they can shoot the breeze and share snacks. Through these regular Monday morning meetings, he also manages to spark up a friendship of sorts with another fellow monster, the forever in trouble Chad (Zadina), who has an alarming habit of pulling out his own hair. Stranger still, he also begins to connect with a beautiful and (formerly) popular classmate, Heather (Crocicchia), who has become something of a social pariah after being coerced into a sexual act in home economics class by another classmate, after showing her a degree of kindness not shown to her by anyone else. However, as these relationships develop, he does not grow from child to man in mere weeks, as is usually the case in such coming-of-age dramas. No, he refreshingly grows just enough to allow us to see a slight glimmer of hope for his future. There are no miracles here! The performances are all affectingly convincing, though special mention should be given to Reilly, who, in a rare and very welcome dramatic role, manages to touch our hearts in a way that he hasn’t done for quite some time. All that said, the film is not quite as successful as it should have been, as numerous plot details ring false, which, had the film been produced as a stage play, with that added level of artificiality, would probably not have made a great deal of difference, but here, captured on celluloid, just about prevent Jacobs’s film from being amongst the year’s very best.