Director: Leif Rokesh
Starring: Garrett Clayton, Corbin Bernsen, Joey Bragg
Runtime: 1 hr 32 mins
What It Is: Living without hope, Steven Turano is sure he wants to end his life. It’s not until an eccentric, seemingly happy-go-lucky new kid shows Steven how a little kindness and true friendship can restore our faith in our future.
What We Think: Cleverly titled, this film really exemplifies the indie film. It’s an unconventional, almost taboo story with unconventional but relatable characters. The topic of suicide was done well, for the most part. There were a few instances where it seemed like suicide was being portrayed as a direct result of someone else’s actions rather than this journey of untangling our own grievances cut short. For the length of the film, it would have been nice to see Clarence West’s (Johnny James Fiore) faults a little bit sooner because it felt a bit abrupt. Topics like suicide and depression are difficult to portray because of how mentally internalized the process is so there were a few instances of abruptness when it came to a character’s reaction to certain situations. However, Reach packed in a lot of themes, ideas, and realities that overall played out really well.
Additionally, there wasn’t a single actor that didn’t shine in this film. With that said, the casting did take me out of the film’s universe a couple of times. Considering the characters (other than the parents) are supposed to be in high school, actors Clayton and Fiore have really mature faces that read as men in their 20s if not 30s during certain points in the film.
Something else to add that this film may not have highlighted in other reviews is its soundtrack. For the premise and the story, the soundtrack is beyond fitting and does a great job building up the tone of the film. This one will definitely hit close to home with a lot of viewers and is a great addition to the few films we have that truly open up the conversation about suicide and depression in teens.
Our Grade: A, Aside from the story, this film is striking and the movie definitely deserves a solid A for that alone. It’s also uncommon to see a film that focuses on depression in adolescent boys and the many ways that it can manifest and shapes it can take. The film was released in 10 major cities during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and can now be checked out on Amazon Video and I highly recommend you do so.