Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As You Are Adoption Movie Review

When Karen and Tom move in together, their teenage sons Jack and Mark become stepbrothers of sorts. Karen and Tom split up due in large part to Tom’s anger, which rips Jack and Mark apart. Jack and Mark are questioning their sexuality; they each date Sarah, and also experiment with each other. 

(SPOILER ALERT) Jack feels betrayed when Mark starts dating Sarah; he tries to seduce Mark, but when his efforts fail, he and Mark go out into the woods, and he kills him. Much of the film is told in retrospect as various characters are being interviewed by a detective. (END SPOILER)



The Adoption Connection

For a short while, Karen, Tom, Jack and Mark form a blended family.


Strong Points

As You Are can provide parents with insights into the possible emotional experiences of teens who are exploring their sexuality, being bullied, experimenting with marijuana, or who are in abusive or tense homes. After watching it, parents could have some idea of what their children and their children’s friends might be feeling and might be experiencing.


Challenges (SPOILERS AHEAD)

I found the film to be uncomfortable. It’s well-acted, and it accomplishes something important in that it does capture realistic experiences for some teens; however, it’s hard to enjoy a film that ends with one teen murdering another. It’s also difficult to watch Tom striking his teenage son. It could also be uncomfortable for many viewers to see two pseudo-stepbrothers kissing passionately. One character brutally kills a squirrel for fun. Tom swears at Karen. Tom also calls the long-haired, slender Jack a “girl” and says that Jack should be in the Marines to become more like a man.


Recommendations

 As You Are isn’t an easy film to watch, and it doesn’t seem like a good fit for teens, and certainly not for kids. For parents, it’s probably not a movie to watch for fun, but it could have value as a source of exposure to real issues that many teens experience.


Questions for Discussion

How does Tom’s anger impact his son?

Which of Jack’s and Mark’s experiences have you experienced? Which of their experiences do you believe are common for teens, and which are rarer?



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