A few of us here at Nerds and Beyond were fortunate enough to watch the dark and realistic coming-of-age story, Adolescence, written by Cal Barnes (Unfriended), Mickey River (21 Days), Chris Rossi (Meadowland), and Ashley Avis (Premium Cali), who also directed.
The film follows Adam (Mickey River), an artistic teen from an abusive household, who is on the verge of graduating high school. Out with his best friend Keith (Romeo Miller) one day, they meet Alice (India Eisley), a mysterious free-spirit that Adam falls for fast and hard. Unfortunately, that fast-lane life is full of parties, drugs, and alcohol that threatens to take Adam down a very dark path. This film gives a very realistic look at drug use and the effects they have on your life and those around you.
“When a star runs out of gas to burn, it collapses in on itself and creates a black hole that will suck in anything.”
After coming home late from hanging out with Alice in the beginning, Adam finds his younger brother, Ben (Brayden Ferrell), watching a show about black holes. When Ben says this particular line, you can hear the more profound meaning and foreshadowing for what’s to come.
Growing up, all Adam saw and experienced was dysfunctional love; he falls for Alice who can relate. They immediately use substances to hold themselves together and eventually become dependent on one another. I mean, Alice asks Adam if he loves her right before she puts the needle in his arm. There was also a scene where they were both in Alice’s car starting to come down from their high and trying to figure out how to get money for their next fix. They were screaming and arguing with each other. Most of what was said sounded just like Adam’s parents, Dave (Michael Milford) and Jennette (Elisabeth Rohm) when they fight. I do, however, think that on some level they did love each other.
Eventually, with the help from his friends Keith and Shepherd (Tommy Flanagan), Adam gets clean. He goes to see Alice to also try and help her, but she doesn’t want it, she is not ready to take the tin foil down yet. When he gets home, he learns that his mother had an overdose and is in rehab, so he goes to visit and comfort her. It is a vicious cycle that keeps repeating in his life.
The film is slow starting, but afterwards, you can see why that was necessary to tell Adam’s story. He went from a teenager lost to addiction, to getting clean and realizing he has to leave his toxic surroundings to find himself.
Here are our thoughts:
I am a big fan of Peter Gregson (Mari), so I was thrilled when I saw that he was the composer on the film and I was not disappointed. The soundtrack was fitting and enhanced the emotion of the scenes. The ending had me in tears, which to be honest, surprised me. I didn’t even notice that I was that invested in Adam’s story until I felt the tears. I was not a fan of the slow start; it took me a little bit to get into it. I also felt that Adam looked more like a college/university student than a high schooler. I do not recommend this film is you are triggered or sensitive about drug use. As an overall, I thought the film showed a very realistic glimpse into drug addiction.
I’m a big Tommy Flanagan fan so when his name appeared in the opening credits, I got excited. His portrayal of Shepherd was nearly perfect, he became the man Adam needed despite not being able to be who Alice needed. The story overall honestly has something I believe any viewer can relate to; it depicts the harsh realities of drug and alcohol abuse, jealousy, dysfunctional relationships, abuse, abandonment and the burden we carry through loss.
I, like Sarah, wasn’t much of a fan of the slow beginning, but I do understand and appreciate the background we got through that slow start. Adam, and ultimately Alice, beautifully displayed that everyone has holes, we just have to let our light shine through them.
If you would like to watch Adolescence you can watch it on the following streaming platforms (Hoopla, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFling, inDemand, Vimeo on Demand, Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, XBOX, Sony, Google Play, Fandango, and Sling/Dish).
What did you think of the film? Let us know in the comments below.