One Shot is a series that seeks to find an essence of cinema history in one single image of a movie. The series Awakenings: Three By Stephen Cone is playing on MUBI in many countries. Sophy Romvari's Still Processing is also playing on MUBI in many countries.
Tim: Y'all gonna be alright? Tim's Sister: Probably. Tim: Probably? Tim's Sister: Yeah, probably. Tim: Just say yes.
—Dialogue excerpt from The Wise Kids
There is a sense of searching within all of Stephen Cones' films that is deeply palpable, so sticky from the summer heat, it’s impossible for the viewer to not feel it. In The Wise Kids, Cone balances ever so delicately the plight of the three main characters as they begin various transformations, all of which are treated with the same level of humanity and care. The lack of judgment is profound given the levels of pain and oppression simmering just under the surface of each character. Stephen Cone is an expert director of the unspoken gestures behind glances that speak so confidently and clearly. Near the end of the film, there is a hug that Austin, a priest played by Cone himself, shares with Tim, the young boy who’s recently come to terms with his own sexuality. A hug that is perhaps also shared between the director and a younger version of himself, making it all the more powerful and resonant as a gesture of love and reconciliation, that it moved me to tears. The Wise Kids, like Cone’s other films, bring to life characters in need of compassion, using the film itself as a vessel to graciously offer said compassion to those in search of love in complex places, be it spiritually, familial or from within.