My Best Worst Adventure (USA/Thailand, 2021)

A young teen finds her world turned upside down during a summer in another land in this wonderfully made coming-of-age film from one of the producers of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures.

Thirteen-year-old Jenny has clashed with her stepfather Mark on numerous occasions since the passing of her mother. Having grown tired of her actions, Mark decides to send Jenny to spend the summer in Thailand to visit her grandmother Somjai. Jenny, who is mute, has trouble adjusting to her new life there. She feels in total conflict with her new surroundings and even finds herself in trouble when she stands up to popular kid Archit, whose grandfather is the village head Phooyai Chun.

Jenny’s luck slowly begins to change when she meets Boonrod. Boonrod is a young boy who is constantly under attack not only from Archit’s bullying, but at home too when he is constantly beaten by his father. The two soon bond, especially over Boonrod’s pet buffalo. Jenny starts to feel more at home, but both she and Boonrod are constantly growing tired of Archit’s bullying. A chance to compete in a buffalo race may be the only chance the two have to stop Archit’s arrogant ways.

Written and directed by famed producer Joel Soisson, whose credits include the likes of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, this is quite the interesting coming-of-age tale as it starts revolving around one protagonist but then becomes two and not in a romantic manner, but the two finding an escape together from the issues they have, both together and separate.

The film’s driving forces are Lily Patra and Ram Rugtawatr as Jenny and Boonrod respectively. What makes their roles more interesting is the fact that they are both mute. We never hear one word come out of them. Perhaps this was Soisson’s intention as they find the quiet nature of themselves as the catalyst towards helping each other out and consoling each other. Jenny suffers from being a “fish out of water” while Boonrod suffers from abuse at the hands of his father, who seems to have no remorse for his actions, despite his wife even berating him for not having a job. This comes after Boonrod is caught stealing from villain head Phooyai Chun.

While Chun may be the village head, it is his grandson Archit, played by Chinnaphat Kitichaivarangoon, who thrives more on the legacy as he’s seen as mainly a bully, especially to out two protagonists. He has his own little gang who will back him up no matter what. When things come to a head at the buffalo races, this becomes the turning point for Jenny, Boonrod, and Archit as the way people see them have a chance of changing. Especially Jenny, who gets a end-credit scene which shows how her experience in Thailand has changed her.

My Best Worst Adventure is a great coming-of-age film that starts with one protagonist and then eventually morphs into two protagonists who have more in common than they imagine. A terrific film driven by the young cast.

WFG RATING: B+

KDMG presents a House of Film production. Director: Joel Soisson. Producers: Kaew Tavoranon and Ray Huber. Writer: Joel Soisson; story by Chariyawan Tavoranon. Cinematography: Vardhana Wanchuplao. Editing: Joel Soisson.

Cast: Lily Patra, Ram Rugtawatr, Chinnaphat Kitichaivarangoon, Phanida Suwansaad, Jim S. Meesri, Eoin O’Brien, Pubet In-Tharid, Cheeraporn Manakornkawit.

The film will debut on Digital platforms on September 1 from KDMG.

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