The gamut of emotions and ideas prompted by adolescence is elegantly encapsulated in Amy George, the striking, honest and sometimes surreal first feature from Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas.
Amy George tells the story of Jesse (Gabriel del Castillo Mullally), the thirteen-year-old only child of Toronto intellectuals. Jesse is given a school art assignment for which he’s asked to incorporate autobiographical elements. Reading somewhere that “you can never be a true artist until you have made love to a woman,” Jesse endeavours to overcome this handicap.
Jesse is not your typical teenager. He isn’t hooked on videogames, phones or the internet. He gets his mother to buy an analogue camera. There is no television in his home. There is, however, a piano to play, a library filled with books and a couch on which to read — but none of this feeds his new obsession with the opposite sex. So he looks elsewhere: first at school, where a friendship with a classmate may or may not turn into something else, and then through the window of his new neighbour, the eponymous Amy (Emily Henry).
Although tight and well-constructed, the film’s storyline is as evanescent and fluctuating as life itself. Many incidents happen within its two-week time frame: money disappears, a maid is fired, an alcoholic aunt is shunned. Jesse expresses and represses a range of emotions during this period, his inner feelings translated by stunning handheld photography. The natural light that flows through the frame helps express the current of a restless teenage mind. As he searches for his artistic voice, Jesse will find a way to define himself, to see himself through his own eyes. And to peek at girls’ boobs. His teacher asked for “something that reflects your inner self.” Maybe the result won’t be as revealing as the road that led to it. –TIFF
Excellent debut feature by directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. Toronto set picture concerns a young teen who fancies himself a budding artist and becomes somewhat obsessed with experiencing sex as a foray into artistic expression. Film is shot with mostly natural light and becomes a sort of vertite exercise in the 'coming of age' film. Young Mullally a real find supported by a quite naturalistic cast. A gem.