The whole movie is extremely well acted. Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man), Stefania LaVie Owen (Krampus), Camrus Johnson (The Sun Is Also a Star), Tommy Nelson (Moonrise Kingdom), and Olivia Boreham-Wing (A Rainy Day in New York) all show promise as young actors and I look forward to seeing their careers grow over time. Throughout the film, there are characters that we like at times and then at a later time may end up hating. I found myself surprised with the characters thought I understood at first, but then ended up realizing they were much different once you get to know them. As a father figure, Mike Epps (The Hangover) acts superbly and has one of the best scenes in the entire film. Every character in the film is relatable at times, as they all have human emotions that change over time. I really liked how this film captured the fact that people change with the crowd around them.
This film is not a Hollywood blockbuster, nor is it meant to be. After all, we are watching the life of a high schooler with family struggles. For reasons that are further developed in the film, Nick (played by Alex Wolff) is relocated to live with a family in New York and starts attending a new high school where he makes new friends. Some of these friends are good, and some are bad. This is the experience that Wolff captures so boldly behind the camera. We've all been in friend groups that didn't suit us, but over time we learn what is good from bad. We learn who we can trust and who we can rely on. Another great performance comes from Mike Epps, who acts as Nick's fatherly figure. He reminds the viewer of the rebelliousness of being a teen and how this affects their parents. Overall, every performance in the film is near flawless and creates a sense of belonging for the viewer.
The Bottom Line: High school is a rough time, and Alex Wolff captures the good moments along with the bad that viewers can reminisce upon.