A precocious teenage genius is suddenly forced to adapt to the real world, while the real world around him is having some growing pains of its own.
Emerson Thorsen is an exceptionally talented and intelligent 13-year-old who has been raised and educated by his free-thinking parents, Rog and Kaya. Emerson is clever, witty and has recently written his first novel, but he doesn’t mix well with others. Rog and Kaya decide to enroll him in public school so he can learn how to socialise (as well as patching up some gaps in his education). While most of Emerson’s teachers are happy to have him in class, his ambiguous sexuality and tart intellectualism make him an immediate target for bullies in his small, wintery town. Emerson’s English teacher, Don Grant, has a bigger problem than most with his new student — Emerson becomes quite infatuated with Don, and isn’t at all shy about expressing his attraction. The closeted Don is torn between a desire to return his advances and the knowledge that he’d be throwing away his career in education if he even acknowledged them.
Beautifully shot on location in Nova Scotia, Whole New Thing received its world premiere at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival.