A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hick is a disturbing film about a teen girl, Luli (Chloe Grace Moretz), who leaves her dysfunctional, neglectful home, only to fall in with characters who may be even more damaged and dangerous. Most of the adults in this movie are either hurtful or downright criminal; very few seem to be aware that Luli is only 13. Violence isn't constant but includes brutal beatings, deaths, gun use, and an implied rape. There's also some underage drinking and cocaine use; lascivious, pedophile-esque behavior; and strong language. All in all, it's pretty hard to stomach.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Luli (Chloe Grace Moretz) wants more out of life than being a pawn between her self-centered, neglectful mother (Juliette Lewis) and drunken father (Anson Mount). In the desolate nowhere of Palmyra, Neb., all she has are her beautiful drawings and the gun she received, oddly, on her thirteenth birthday at the bar her parents frequent. (Life is like that for Luli.) One day, she decides to take off, art and firearm in tow and Las Vegas as her destination. Then she makes the fateful decision to hitch a ride with a stranger, Eddie (Eddie Redmayne), whose rage simmers just below the surface. Luli leaves him and is picked up by the beautiful Glenda (Blake Lively), a grifter with a heart of gold and a cocaine habit who appears to have a connection with the mysterious Eddie. It's a violent triangle the three make, and it can only end one way.
Is it any good?
The performances are very strong, especially Moretz's; she sometimes appears to truly be struggling to make sense of the horror of it all. Lively does fine with her role, but many shades of it were seen before in her role in The Town. And Redmayne's Eddie is simply a creep; he makes your skin crawl, making certain scenes all the more uncomfortable.
You can't help but feel awful for Luli, despite her hard exterior. She's had to craft that shell for years, living with her horrible parents. Clearly, she deserves better. But HICK, director Derick Martini's take on her hard-scrabble life, is curiously devoid of compassion and heart, even if it's sprinkled with moments when we see Luli, like a sunflower, reaching for the proverbial sun despite the darkness around her. That's because Martini has littered her world with so much desperation, brutality, and sadness that we don't quite get why she still has it in her to fight for survival. Hick is too bleak, too cold, too late to bring a shot of joy into Luli's life -- and to the viewer's experience of the movie, for that matter -- that you have to wonder whether the ending is actually feasible.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Luli. Is she a strong female character? How does her age impact how you feel about what she does and what she goes through? An actual teenager plays Luli, placing herself in uncomfortable scenes. Is that appropriate?
What keeps Luli hoping? How does she find it in herself to survive?
Parents, talk to your kids about domestic violence. What recourse do kids have? What responsibilities do adults who witness it have? How is it typically portrayed in the media, and how does that impact the way society views it?
- In theaters: May 11, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: August 14, 2012
- Cast: Blake Lively, Chloe Grace Moretz, Eddie Redmayne
- Director: Derick Martini
- Studio: Phase 4 Films
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing content involving a teen, violence, drug use, language and drinking
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