Sep 3, 2010

12 and Holding

I can only imagine that youth nowadays have a hard time finding a decent coming-of-age film. Hollywood seems most interested in sexualizing youngsters as well as indoctrinating them with a slave morality where the weak is looked at as good (especially poor, modernly mythical ghetto Jews and disenfranchised Negroes) and the strong as evil (and don't forget usually "racist") rather than providing them with quality entertainment.  No longer will there be films like Monster Squad where kids call other kids "faggots" for such words are borderline hate speech. Also, one should not expect many kids movies with strong Nordic heroes wiping out dark and slimy scum.  If one wants to see a quality coming-of-age films nowadays, it is going to have to be subversive and borderline morally bankrupt, the kind of film that kids probably should not see. 12 and Holding, directed by Michael Cuesta, is such a film; a sin-filled and not-so-sunny motion picture featuring kids killing other kids. Cuesta is probably best known for his hurdy-gurdy masterpiece L.I.E., a film featuring a young teen who takes on a Pedo named Big John as a father figure. With 12 and Holding, Cuesta once again proves he is proficient at directing films about juveniles that no parent would want to see nor think about.

The children in 12 and Holding are a group of young and upcoming degenerates. Jacob has a disgusting birthmark on his face and a recently deceased twin brother who his parents loved more, Leonard is an obese lump of turd, and Carla is a 1/2 Asian girl who has a thing for adult men. It seems all these 12 year old kids are united by their early disdain for life and most of humanity. All of these preteens also suffer some type of existential crisis with some of the children more conscious of their problems than others. All the children also take extreme measures in attempting to correct their problems. For example, young Carla thinks that breaking into an adult male friend's apartment and surprising him in the nude would be the best way to correct her father-less void. Lardo Leonard thinks by locking his disgustingly obese mother in the basement and forcing her to eat fruit/vegetables that he will force Miss Piggy to lose some weight. I guess children sometimes have ridiculous solutions to their problems, but one must respect them for their passionate audacity.  

12 and Holding was shot on Super 16mm film which certainly adds to the film's realism. The scenarios featured in the film may sometimes seem exaggerated and unheard of, but I am sure similar situations play out more often in American society than one would want to admit. I believe a lot of kids in the city start pushing crack around age 12 and the girls start shooting out worthless eaters around the same age too. The somewhat prudish preteens of 12 and Holding are not yet keen on the same recreations as their fellow city youth but they certainly have their own poison of abuse. Chances are if you're 12 years or younger the film will likely give your nightmares but then again, so will Anne Frank and Barney. 

-Ty E


jervaise brooke hamster said...

I`ve always regarded the whole idea of so-called "coming-of-age" movies to be incredibly embarrassing, irritating and pretentious nonsense. By the way, Carla is a gorgeous little girl, why couldn`t the movie have just been her parading around naked for the entire running time then we could have waved bye-bye to those other two wankers and all that so-called "coming-of-age" bull-shit and got straight to "THE TRUTH" (as it were).

Phantom of Pulp said...

Great review of a very good movie. You nailed its assets.

JESCIE said...