Ties don’t al­ways prove bind­ing

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Katie Walsh

Writer-di­rec­tor Ian MacAl­lis­ter-McDon­ald makes his di­rec­to­rial de­but with “Some Freaks,” a touch­ing if of­ten dev­as­tat­ing story of the con­nec­tions that high school weirdos can find in each other and what hap­pens when they try to not be freaks any­more. Thomas Mann stars as Matt, a tor­mented teen sad­dled with an eye patch, who be­gins a ro­mance with the new girl in school, the aunt of his neu­rotic gay friend Elmo (Ely Henry). Jill (Lily Mae Har­ring­ton) is over­weight, blue­haired, and pierced, and she and Matt find a sweet so­lace in each other, away from the jabs of their class­mates.

Like any high school cou­ple, col­lege changes every­thing, and for th­ese two, their phys­i­cal changes lead to emo­tional chal­lenges. Jill morphs into a smaller, blon­der California girl, while Matt fits him­self with a false eye. But their evo­lu­tions drive a wedge be­tween them, their bond forged in their out­sider sta­tus.

Ris­ing star Mann is haunt­ing as Matt, yearn­ing for love and ac­cep­tance, but the break­out star of “Some Freaks” is Har­ring­ton, who not only goes through a phys­i­cal meta­mor­pho­sis but turns in a per­for­mance that ex­plores the nu­anced tran­si­tions from sweet to hurt to barbed. She may be ac­cepted, but she strug­gles to ul­ti­mately ac­cept it.

“Some Freaks” ex­plores the way in which those who are teased for be­ing dif­fer­ent can turn on other out­siders and the emo­tional trauma of that poi­sonous iso­la­tion. This vis­ceral and anx­i­ety­laden vi­sion ends on an un­easy though hope­ful note. “Some Freaks.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 37 min­utes. Play­ing: Laemmle Mu­sic Hall, Bev­erly Hills.

Good Deed En­ter­tain­ment

OUT­SIDER MATT (Thomas Mann) is a tor­mented teen in high school who finds change in col­lege.

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