I remember high school all too well. You had lots of different groups. You had the popular kids, you had the jocks, nerds, and of course you had what some would consider the outcasts/misfits/losers. It’s a shame that kids have to pick on each other or even feel the need to. As we get older we learn to appreciate the differences between us and appreciate that we all have something very different to offer each other. But what we don’t always remember is that a lot of the insecurities felt by one group is also felt by the other.
I also remember looking at the popular kids in school and saying to myself how they had it made. They got the girls, they had the popularity, etc. It never once occurred to me that my need and want to fit in was also felt by them as well. I assumed they just naturally did and didn’t have to work for it, but I was wrong. Everyone wants to be accepted, and we each do very different things to obtain it.
Terri, directed by Azazel Jacobs tells the story of a young overweight teenage by the name Terri (Jacob Wysocki). He’s the type of kid that pretends to not care about anything. So much so that he decides he’s going to start attending school in his pajamas because they just are more comfortable. He’s noticed by the school principal Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly) and is taken under his wing. Each Monday morning he’s to come to his office where Mr. Fitzgerald will teach him.
One day in home economics class, the girl he’s interested in is caught being fingered in class by her jerk of a boyfriend. But, although eventually enjoying it, she was forced into it from the start. Her name is Heather Miles (Olivia Crocicchia). The boyfriend is kicked out of school, and just as she is about to be as well, Terri steps up and tells Mr. Fitzgerald what he saw and that she shouldn’t be kicked out for something she didn’t want to do.
Now alienated and being made fun of, Heather has gone from being the popular girl to the outcast as well. Terri though, still liking her, steps up and draws attention to himself essentially rescuing her in one incident. At this point she and he begin a sweet friendship.
On a side note, one of the other outcasts is Chad (Bridger Zadina) who likes to rip the hair from his head. He and Terri begin a friendship from that point, although his interference with Terri and Heather make for a very interesting scene.
I really liked this film. I thought it was well made and had a subject matter that hit close to home. John C. Reilly’s character was once an outcast when he was young so he’s very able to understand and empathize with Terri and Chad. His methods may be unorthodox, but they’re effective.
I really liked the acting by Jacob Wysocki and Olivia Crocicchia. Both impressed me and the relationship between the two of them, be it friendship or more was very convincing and very natural. Both played characters longing for attachment and acceptance in this world, though through very different measures.
I think it’s best summed up by a line that John C. Reilly’s character says in the film. Life sucks. It’s what we do with it that has the meaning. And with that being said, I couldn’t agree more.
FINAL GRADE: A
Reel Film News Movie Review by Bill Ayres