My closest cousin died of leukemia when I was 11. That event had such a profound event on everything that followed, only fading slowly into the fabric of who I was to become, and what stories I would tell.
Death among kids is such an important thing to deal with, and HIDE YOUR SMILING FACES (from 2013 and now on Netflix) is, like STAND BY ME, a lovely example of how it can be done.
What seems to be an idyllic summer full of adolescent boys quickly is revealed to be anything but lyrical. The fights, the flies, the hot sun, the mud. The’ rising questions of ‘what to do’ and ‘how to get away.’
Director Daniel Parker Carbone does an excellent job of capturing his stars Ryan Jones and Nathan Varnson in their very real childhoods. The guys give great performances as the leaders of a ragtag group that runs afoul of the neighborhood bully.
Once we see the railway bridge for the first time – a magnificent abandoned structure arching high over a meandering creek – we know how the grace of innocence will fall from these boys.
I found the film gripping and intense. From the unprotected bike rides to the constant traipsing through the woods full of mystery – every moment holds the possibility for heartbreak or hilarity.