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A Kid Like Jake - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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steve98052
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A Kid Like Jake
SIFF's capsule summary: "Claire Danes and Jim Parsons star in an emotional and nuanced look at modern parenting as a married couple whose precocious, creative four-year-old begins to exhibit gender-expansive behavior. Directed by Silas Howard (Transparent) and with an impressive supporting cast that includes Octavia Spencer and Ann Dowd." (US, 2018, 92 minutes)
SIFF link: A Kid Like Jake

Alex (Claire Danes) and Greg (Jim Parsons) bought a house in a neighborhood with a great school, but by the time their son Jake (Leo James Davis) is getting close to school age the school boundaries have been redrawn so that they'll have to either send him to a lesser public school or find a way to get him into a private school they can't really afford. Complicating the process of trying to get a scholarship to a private school, he's much more interested in Disney princesses, girl clothes, and so forth than typical boy things. Their friend Judy (Octavia Spencer) is a school administrator, and tries to help guide them through the process of getting Jack into the school of their dreams. Further complicating the parents' lives, Alex has an obnoxious judgmental mother who scorns Alex's preference to be a stay-at-home mother.

8 Very Good The script is by Daniel Pearle, adapted from his own play. The adaptation expands the range of settings enough that it doesn't feel like it's confined to a stage. The parents' struggles to find the right school, the disapproval of Alex's mother, and all their issues about Jake's gender behavior are a lot of material for drama. (Some may write off the school question as "first world problems", but I don't see it that way; the parents want the best for their children, like every good parent does.) I find the writing very good. The directing, by Silas Howard, is good, but nothing special.

The acting was mostly very good, but the Alex's mother character was so unlikable that it was hard to judge her acting fairly. Overall, I rate the film very good, mainly on the strength of the story.

Languages: English.

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating (yet), but I'd guess it would rate a "PG-13", unless I've already forgotten strong language, or if the MPAA gets weird about the idea of a boy who dresses like a girl.

Screening: 12 noon, Pacific Place (room 4).
Audience: an above average SIFF press screening crowd, over 100, about 285 seats (estimated capacity).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements: no ads at press screenings; SIFF volunteer "R" provided announcements.

Notes to myself:

SIFF statistics: 17 films (all features), 1 unofficial party.

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