As You Are presents us familiar faces such as Mary Stuart Masterson and Amandla Stenberg. The former has played rebellious troubled young characters before. And it’s time for the latter, who plays a girl named Sara, to do the same. Both actresses appear here in decent supporting roles. Owen Campbell and Charlie Heaton play the main characters, Jack and Mark.
Their depressive tendencies lead to Mark’s death. The film takes us to the journey that explains exactly how they get to that point. There’s an investigation that follows. Each surviving character shown through footage of them being interrogated by a detective. This is a familiar narrative device but the actors showcase their vulnerability as they do during the flashbacks.
And that journey takes us to the world when Kurt Cobain was alive. He is, to the characters, song about the anger that they are feeling. There’s a lot of loose-fitting flannel here. The younger characters roam these spaces, behaving as if they have less resources than kids today.
It also reveals the characters’ sexual fluidity in opposition to a the toxic masculinity of the small town where they live. We see them beat up by other kids. But their opponent is Mark’s father who also becomes Jack’s temporary stepfather, Tom (Scott Cohen). At first a positive influence, Tom’s affinity for guns becomes one of the suspect things about him.
First-time director Myles Joris-Peyrafitte employs a subtle touch with his film. A gripe that I have, however, is that the film’s atmosphere is a hard one to pull off. It feels both laconic and rushed. It doesn’t help flesh out more of the characters’ motivations here. I do want to see more from Joris-Peyrafitte.
- Release Date: 2/19/2017