Director: Rebecca Thomas
Cast: Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, Liam Aitken, Bill Sage,
Cynthia Watros, Billy Zane
3 stars (out of 5)
There is a semblance of insider knowledge informing
, a tale about breaking free from the constraints
fundamentalist Mormon community.
First-time director Rebecca Thomas based elements of her
script on episodes she experienced in her own closeted Utah
Electrick Children is centred on Rachel (Julia
Garner), a precocious teenager growing up in an isolated sect
somewhere in the Utah backwaters. Dutifully observing the
tenets of godly life delivered by her father Paul (Billy
Zane), Rachel's life is thrown upside down when she discovers
a tape recorder concealing a pop-song that transforms her
very reason for being.
The tune is Hanging On The Telephone, a Blondie song
from the '70s. This is where things turn from quirky to
cosmic, as Rachel discovers she is pregnant and believes the
conception was triggered by the tape.
Eloping, Rachel and her brother, Mr Will (Liam Aitken), head
to the bright lights of Vegas to track down the singer.
Falling in with a bunch of stoned skaters, the impressionable
"prairie kids" are like two aliens beamed down to Earth.
With seismic shifts in tone and location that are barely
signposted, its almost as if the editor forgot to include
Fortunately, the great on-screen chemistry between Garner and
her skater chaperone Clyde (Rory Culkin) elevates
Electrick Children beyond being a mere indie-curiosity
to an imaginative mash-up of cultural dislocation and pop
Best thing: Julia Garner's assured performance.
Worst thing: A tacked-on conclusion that feels as if
it comes from another film.
See it with: Some suspension of disbelief.
By Mark Orton