And Then I Go (2018)

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Jim Sheperd’s Project X novel is adapted to a powerful film about the struggles teens face today and the consequences of those actions.

Edwin is a teenager who has undergone a radical change in attitude. Spending his time with longtime friend Flake, Edwin finds himself constantly bullied, thus making himself alienated from his own family. Flake and Edward are practically inseparable, even when at times, their ribbing each other tends to go too far. Edwin’s parents wish for their son to find other friends besides Flake. Edwin is even having issues at school in terms of his schoolwork, worrying both his teacher and vice-principal.

When some of the bullying begins to get too much for the boys, Flake comes up with a plan that will give the friends a release from the issues that plague them. While the bullying and taunting continues, Edwin finally may have found an outlet where he finally feels welcome for the first time in a long time. However, Flake still has his issues and even when Edwin and Flake come to blows, nearly ruining their friendship, the bullying of a classmate from another kid prompts them to perhaps execute their plan.

This film, based on the acclaimed novel by Jim Sheperd, is quite a realistic portrayal of issues involving bullying, alienation, and the consequences of a possible retaliation against all the wrongdoing. Sheperd co-wrote the film with Brett Haley and they carefully crafted a film that delves headfirst in these issues through the eyes of our protagonist Edwin, played in a powerful performance by Arman Darbo.

As both the lead and narrator of the film, Edwin clearly feels like in the opening that he is venting out to the audience about how he feels about junior high school. Melanie Lynskey and Justin Long are quite polar opposites as his parents. While Lynskey’s Janice tries to get through to her son, Long’s Tim is seen always berating his son for his recent behavior and instead of trying to help him through any heart to hearts like his mother, Tim’s “tough love” approach clearly doesn’t seem to work.

While Edwin has issues and tends to outburst only on occasion, it is Flake that proves to be not only his best friend, but possibly his worst enemy. Sawyer Braun pulls off a terrific performance as the short-tempered Flake, who takes the most action when it comes to getting bullying and is the more outspoken of the duo. It is Flake who comes up with the plan of retaliation and looks more to stick with it than Edwin, who finds a sense of acceptance when it is revealed he is quite good at art and thus making him gain a few new friends and not just Flake. Dallas Edwards plays a fellow student named Herman who like the other two, also has had his share of bullying and this feeling connected to Edwin and Flake but up to a point.

And Then I Go is a very realistic look at the struggles of adolescence, notably bullying and alienation. Arman Darbo and Sawyer Braun churn out wonderful performances with some great veteran talent supporting them in this very powerful film.

WFG RATING: A

The Orchard presents a Two Flints production in association with Lunacy. Director: Vincent Grashaw. Producers: Laura D. Smith and Rebecca Green. Writers: Jim Sheperd and Brett Haley; based on the novel Project X by Sheperd. Cinematography: Patrick Scola. Editing: Alan Canant.

Cast: Arman Darbo, Sawyer Braun, Melanie Lynskey, Justin Long, Tony Hale, Carrie Preston, Melonie Diaz, Royalty Hightower, Dallas Edwards, Phebe Cox, Kannon Hicks.

The Orchard will release this film on DVD and VOD on April 17.

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