Film Reviews

Family: Indie Comedy Juggalo Coming-Of-Age Film

Woman and girl near a bouncy castle.

Family is a coming of age comedy that stars Taylor Schilling from Orange Is the New Black. She plays an emotionally stunted vice president of a hedge fund in New Jersey where people see her as Kate Stone, the office bitch. She’s abrasive, abusive, cold, distance and very self-absorbed. She doesn’t hang out with anyone and always by herself working (usually working up the corporate ladder). She gets a phone call from her brother to babysit his preteen daughter for a week in the suburbs due to a family emergency from her sister-in-law’s side. She accepts and learns how much she’s a bitch.

Cheryl Stone is a young 13-year-old teen girl is weird. She’s into doing magic tricks, usurping classes from a karate class, fencing with sticks in her backyard and believes that she’s a wolf internally in some way. At a convenience store, she meets another kid who thinks he’s from the hood named Baby Joker. He is really into the band Insane Clown Posse. The music, the gatherings and the makeup, everything. She starts to get into the band just as much as him then explores her new found interest to become a Juggalo.

Screenshot of Cheryl showing off her stick fighting to Kate Stone.

The film is mostly about awkwardness. They both explore the time people would face changes in their lives but in a comedic setting. They both transition from being alone and awkward to be accepted and liked. The film is mostly about the businesswoman’s change in demeanour to turn into a nicer person. Taylor Schilling was very good in this role. This character has similar qualities with the character she played in Orange Is the New Black. She hardened, uptight and mean spirited but softens up later into the film. Kate doesn’t try to be around people since she says a lot of insensitive things to people because of arrogance. For a babysitter, she ditches her an awful lot but she provides a different association for the preteen to find her interests without being pushed into things her mother wants her to be apart of for the sack of socializing. Both character also face bullying from middle school kids and the neighbourhood helicopter moms.

Kate giving advice about bullying to Cheryl.

The film has good editing of people talking going back and forth between two people as much as possible. The camera pans from one person to another for the flow of conversation in some scenes. The scenes are comedic in delivery with circumstances and character clashing is where the humour comes from. The film isn’t loud and wacky but a little smooth and mellow. One thing I might need to point out is that the seven day week drifts into one long day then four mini days. It’s just how the day and night is played out in the movie for me. It was a really good directorial debut for Laura Steinel.

Screenshot of Kate painted up has a Juggalette talking to Cheryl

The nods to the Insane Clown Posse throughout the film was funny since it’s one of those musical groups that some people look at as weird because of several things. It also left me to believe that they would have a special appearance in the film near the end which they did. There was a special appearance of Natasha Lyonne as a Juggalette (female Juggalo) near the end of the film.

My Family is very much a weekend movie with an ordinary story of being the weird kid. It mostly shows that both characters are not lost causes or have to fight a lot for respect but find it, even if it’s wearing black and white clown makeup.

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2019
Duration: 83 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Four out of five stars

All screenshots are from the film
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