How To Fix Radios occasionally mixes up its aesthetic, which is what looks like a film filter. There’s a scene where teenagers from a small Ontario town hang out by a creek. And viewers can see that happen because someone is videotaping it the way kids in the 2010s used to. The ringleader of those group of kids is Jake (Hector Jenkins), the son of a property owner putting a fellow kid, Ross (Dimitri Watson) to work. The work is basically to make a rural property presentable enough to sell. I might end up saying a lot of unflattering things about this film. But credit is due for its depiction of Ross, a skinny white queer person with pink hair who does blue collar work. It’s not the first time a film depicted queer life this way. But this is, thankfully, one more film where queer people aren’t city slickers.
As I write this, I also have to acknowledge the bravery of making a low budget film, but it doesn’t have to look low budget. The lighting is pretty terrible during scenes taking place at nighttime. And there are ways to circumvent those challenges without destroying How To Fix Radios’ aesthetic goals. One of those nighttime scenes depict a random conversation between Ross and another kid, Evan (James Rudden). They discuss what an out and visible queer person like Ross is doing in a small town to a story in Ross’ childhood to Evan trying to figure his sexuality out. The flow between one topic to another isn’t smooth here. And Rudden is a good presence on screen, the kind of guy other people his age would have a crush on. But he and the other actors would benefit here if they could bring more authenticity to their roles.