The film Electrick Children, directed by Rebecca Thomas, is about Rachel, a 15-year-old girl who gets pregnant through ‘immaculate conception with music’!
The film boasts of a wonderful concept, beautifully executed by the cast and the director. You cannot classify the film in one particular genre. 96 minutes of joyful cinema on offer - lap it up! Electrick Children was screened at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival as a part of the 'International Competition' section.
Rachel (Julia Garner) is a Mormon girl who has been cut-off from any form of modern technology by her overtly conservative family. However, on her birthday, Rachel chances upon a rock 'n' roll tape. She listens to a track called 'Telephone' on the tape and soon, she gets pregnant! Now, she believes that it was an immaculate conception by music. Her fundamentally religious parents reprimand her for being irresponsible and are about to force her into an arranged marriage. Rachel has no choice but to run away from home. She drives down to what she calls 'Electrick' Las Vegas. Her brother Mr. Will (Liam Aiken), who was also suspected of impregnating her and was asked to leave the house, had been sleeping in the same vehicle that she drove away. So, you had these two, who dress unconventionally, talk in a certain manner, are ignorant about any form of modern technology and do not swear, smoke and drink, in the middle of a city that's renowned for all the above. Rachel starts looking for musicians believing that she will eventually find the father or her unborn child, the singer of 'Telephone'. Will and Rachel start hanging out with this guy called Clyde (Rory Culkin) and his friends. It's amusing to watch the two 'pure souls' let their hair down in the city.
While Rachel is relatively more subdued, Mr. Will goes berserk (even landing up in a jail at one point of time). Rachel, who keeps looking for that musician, marries Clyde in what was the shortest ceremony of all time. Clyde, who is perpetually high, takes it seriously too. The film has a mix of everything, comedy, drama, religion, love, drugs, music! And at the same time, no particular genre takes over the entire film. In essence, the film does have an unbelievable premise but the execution is so wonderful, that you are most certain to overlook the 'plot-holes'.
The three young actors do a splendid job. Aiken, who plays Mr. Will, had a tough role to perform. On one side, he was the conservative, non-swearing, timid person back home, but a visit to the city changes him completely. That transformation was absolutely delightful to watch. Julia Garner steals the show completely. Her unassuming charm, her impish smile, the innocence on her face and the almost-flawless body language, escalate the film to a completely different level. Rory, who plays the the dope head Clyde, gives a 'buzzing' performance too. Natural performers, these three!
Apart from the wonderful concept of the film, the screenplay and dialogues too worked wonders. Although, the cinematography Mattias Troelstrup is breathtakingly beautiful, at no point does it get indulgent. The story moves along briskly and credit for that should be given to the writer-director Rebecca Thomas and the editor Jennifer Lilly. The dialogues are bound to crack you up. The best part about the film is that no matter however grim the situation is, the comic relief is always there. And, yet you can gauge the seriousness of it all. There are biblical connotations towards the end, but still the film does not lose its 'fun' flavour.
Is this ‘meaningful’ cinema? No. If you need to, can you take a meaning out of it? Yes. In either of the cases, you'll leave the cinema hall with a smile on your face.