15 year old Rachel (Julia Garner) has an ordinary existence in a small fundamentalist Mormon community in Utah. She has been interviewed by her father/pastor (Billy Zane) at her birthday. A tape recorder used to document this event, which fuels Rachel’s curiosity. Despite all the rules against it, one night she gets her hands on the recorder and picks a random blue cassette. Listening to a song for the first time – a catchy tune – ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ by The Nerves. This action seems to put her on a path she can’t no longer turn back.
To her mother’s horror Rachel is convinced that she had an immaculate conception through listening this cassette. Her parents reacts to the situation the only way they know by sweeping under the carpet with no further investigation and arrange her to marry another young boy swiftly. Rachel, despite her naivety runs away to Vegas to find the man in the tape, father of her baby. Mr. Will (Liam Aiken), her brother accused of her pregnancy, now an outcast, becomes an unwilling passenger in her journey. Soon they run onto a gang of teenagers which includes emotionally fragile Clyde.
Pregnancy plot is actually isn’t the focal point here only vessel to open the story further. Garner’s performance of Rachel is maybe a little on the over acted side at times but nonetheless a brilliant portrayal of her uncorrupted innocence, unshakable religious beliefs and braveness. Despite all the temptations Rachel encounters in Vegas she doesn’t get corrupted. It also worth noting Culkin is very subtle but skilfully convincing as a rich, troubled teenager Clyde.
Director Rebecca Thomas herself brought up in a mainstream Mormon community, naturally feels she has sort of an authority to look into the fundamentalist branch of this community’s believes yet prefers not to dig too deep. According to her, this familiarity helped hunting down the right locations matching to her script. Surroundings of isolated grand country side set as a nice contrast against chaotic bright lit city of Vegas which serves to purpose of the story.
At times Electrick Children does rely a little too much in coincidences. However beautifully edited, playfully intimate shots and vibrant over running commentary of Rachel’s words iron over those negatives. Lots of metaphors used by Thomas also gives a more of mystical tale feel.
All and all this sweet tale is a quite enjoyable indie movie about coming of age, strengthen by mesmerising acting and great direction.
Electrick Children is now showing nation wide (UK).
Director, Rebecca Thomas, claims the unusual spelling of the title comes from not being able to secure the domain name at ‘Electric Children’.