Almost every year in film there’s a slew of coming-of-age dramas that are either hyped-up unbelievable or come unexpectedly, and to be honest the majority of them, or at least the ones that I have seen, are not too great. Usually they are either watchable/alright, complete garbage, or the trailer was so annoying that I couldn’t even consider watching them, but then every once in a while a coming-of-age movie comes along and blows everything out of the water. That is the case with Daniel Patrick Carbone’s “Hide Your Smiling Faces”, a dreary but very ultimately effective drama.
Carbone’s directorial/screenwriting debut is such a great piece that I had to make a mental note to keep watch of his upcoming movies, because as far as I can tell from how good of a movie this was he’s going to have a wonderful independent career ahead of him. The movie is very hazy, and almost dreamlike. He writes such a tapestry of beautifully drawn-out characters, every feeling of grief and mortality is instantly felt while watching. It’s a very moody, very dreary, almost depressing movie, but so accurate as to the feelings going on in the mind of an adolescent when he or she is confronted with grief, tragedy, mystery, mortality, life, death, human struggle. So much so that the viewer can feel and experience the happiness and eventual pain along with the characters. The direction was very graceful, the cinematography very artistic and alluring.
Carbone got an enormous amount of emotion out of a mostly inexperienced, unknown cast. Ryan Jones and Nathan Varnsan, who play brothers Tommy (Jones) and Eric (Varnsan), gave such an honest, realistic, expert portrait of adolescence and struggle that it’s as if the director documented a summer in the life of two real life brothers who were struggling with loss and mortality. It’s that realistic, it’s that natural, and it most certainly is that honest.
In conclusion, “Hide Your Smiling Faces” is depressing and dreary, but it is an expertly crafted and ultimately beautiful tribute to adolescence and the struggle of relationships, nature, and mortality that comes along with it. A must see in almost every sense of the word.
My Rating: 9/10
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