This movie wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
It wasn’t a diatribe about the way women are treated in the fundamentalist Mormon community where the protagonist (Rachel, played by Julia Garner) was raised. It did not poke fun at her naiveté or the choices she and her brother (Liam Aiken) made. It was even nonjudgmental about the aimless rocker/skater group Rachel and her brother find in Las Vegas.
Electrick Children is just a story of youth — an entertaining coming of age story with elements of fantasy, particularly the occasional vision of a red Mustang signifying change, possibility, the beckoning of a dangerous and possibly appealing life. The performances were excellent, allowing me to suspend disbelief and accept the world view of the characters.
Rachel, 15 years old and raised in the religious simplicity of a fundamentalist Mormon community, discovers a cassette tape with rock music. She is overwhelmed by it. When she later discovers she is pregnant, she attributes her pregnancy to an immaculate conception sparked by listening to the music. She leaves her community and heads to the city to find the musician who sang the song. There, she and her brother fall in with the musician/skaters, who live an aimless life of parties, music and drugs. She meets Clyde (Rory Culkin), who has left his well-off family to live with the fringe group. Clyde finds himself drawn in by Rachel’s innocence and certainty.
The movie is also about culture clash — Mormon traditional versus the decadence of the city versus the rootless lives of young people who are living in the now. It’s not a religious film at all, though it is set amid the trappings of religion. It’s just a story, about two young people and how they rebel — against their parents, against the cultures that raised them. It’s a theme that reminds me a little of the 60s.
I enjoyed Electrick Children very much. A link to its website is here.