Hide Your Smiling Faces, film review: Beautiful portrait of American adolescence

(15) Daniel Patrick Carbone, 81 mins Starring: Ryan Jones, Nathan Varnson, Colm O'Leary
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The Independent Culture

Hide Your Smiling Faces is a beautifully shot, highly stylised portrait of American adolescence. It has a quaintly old-fashioned view of teenage years as a period for roaming round in the woods, Huck Finn-style, rather than for sitting at home, playing on the Xbox.

Two brothers (Nathan Varnson and Ryan Jones) are forced to contemplate the fact of their own mortality after another boy dies. All of a sudden, death and decay seem to be all around them.

The film opens with a shot of a snake trying to swallow a fish and features many other scenes hinting at the savagery of the natural world. There are long silences as the kids try and fail to make sense of it all.

Daniel Patrick Carbone's insights may not be original but if you're after an earnest, lyrical, rites-of-passage drama without even the sight of a smiling face, this is it.

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