The teen/high school/coming-of-age film has to be one of the most universal genres. It doesn’t matter if its Jim Stark (Rebel Without A Cause) or Napoleon Dynamite, films of this type elicit nostalgia, make you reminiscence and most people identify with the misfits, loners, the burgeoning sex drive or the eternal teenage struggle to be understood by the parental unit. Terri is a lot more Indie than most coming-of-age films but is refreshingly different in its approach and as quoted by the Arizona Republic on the back of the DVD cover “ is almost an anti teen-coming-of-age movie”.
Terri is an obese, sensitive high school outcast who lives with and cares for his decrepit pilled-out Uncle. He wears pajamas and never arrives at school on time. One day Terri is summoned to meet with the vice principal, Mr Fitzgerald (played the wonderfully funny John C. Reily), only instead of scalding him he takes Terri under his wing. Fitzgerald dedicates each morning to a particular outcast/troubled kid as it turns out he was somewhat of a monster himself in high-school and knows what they are going through. Through this arrangement Terri befriends some fellow members of Mr Fitzgerald’s “Good Hearts” club (a rebellious loner and a promiscuous blonde) and begins to come out of his shell.
I really have no criticisms of the film, I’m nit-picking here so I’m not biased but some might find that the relationship between Terri and Mr Fitzgerald is really fleshed out but the relationships with his new misfits friends is kind of abrupt… but then isn’t everything in high-school? One minute you’re friends with someone then your not, one minute you have a crush on Johnny then it’s Jimmy.
Terri has none of the normal trappings of an Indie film such as a low-budget; it also has a great script and is superbly acted and filmed. It really comes down to whether or not you like stories that don’t really go anywhere, are not fast paced and are in a sense existential. The humor is very subtle so if you’re looking for a comedy this won’t fulfill your needs. If you like films that take their time and are a reflection of real life then add this to the top of your to view list. You’ll find no fairytale endings, cartoon characters, cautionary tales or dramatic life-changes within the characters here but despite this the film is not bleak at all… it’s just realistic.
Sadly there’s no extras of any substance on this release. I would have enjoyed listening to a commentary with the director or writer and interviews with the cast. I’ve never seen Jacob Wysocki in anything before but he can really hold his own next to the brilliant comedy of John C. Reilly. He’s got a lot of upcoming films in 2012 so he seems like a person to keep an eye on.
- Theatrical Trailer
- Madman Trailers
Available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.