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December 02, 2007

Billy The Kid

Billythekid Debut documentarian Jennifer Venditti follows the struggles of Billy, a 15-year-old boy with an autistic type of disability that causes him to constantly shift his eyes as if searching for a way out of his cloistered small-town existence in Maine. Billy wears his heart on his sleeve in describing the sins of his biological father that have left him to grow up in a double-wide trailer home with his doting mother and consistently absent radio announcer step-father, whom Billy idolizes. Heavy metal music and horror movies inform Billy’s self-image as he courts a local girl without realizing the cards stacked against him. Billy’s candid and self-conscious efforts at socializing give the film its uncomfortable microcosmic study of adolescence in modern-day Americana, but the filmmaker’s inability to reveal Billy’s stepfather ignores an essential element of the story. In the end, it’s the absent father figure that hobbles the story of a decent kid unable to edit himself for better or for worse.

Not Rated. 85 mins. (C+) (Two Stars)

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