The white trash family of 13-year-old Luli (Chloé Moretz) includes drunken parents (Juliette Lewis and Anson Mount) and an uncle whose idea of the perfect birthday gift for his niece is a 45-caliber Smith & Wesson. On a whim, Luli hits the road for Vegas, and within two hitched rides, finds herself embroiled in the sordid lives of Eddie (Eddie Redmayne), a psycho charmer in a cowboy hat, and the fast-talking Glenda (Blake Lively), who gives Luli her first hit of cocaine. Moretz, who is 15 now, calls to mind the young Jodie Foster as she paints Luli as a girl who knows everything about the world, and absolutely nothing, all at once. Sadly, writer-director Derick Martini (Lymelife) and co-writer Andrea Portes, adapting her 2007 novel, betray their star’s commitment by glossing over Luli’s deepest feelings. When she is sexually assaulted (off-screen, while Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams” plays on the soundtrack) and later hogtied to a bed, Martini strikes such a nonchalant tone that one momentarily doubts that a rape actually took place. It did, but the filmmaker focuses instead on the B-movie melodrama between Eddie and Glenda. Too odd to be funny, too cold-hearted to be tragic, Hick is an infuriating muddle.
"Infuriating muddle." To me that translates "thought provoking." I certainly found the film to be that. As for "cold-hearted," well, I think you're missing the dynamic of children who grow up in families dominated by alcohol problems. They learn very early to keep their cards very close to their chests, to never betray their emotions, knowing full well that those emotions, once revealed, will be verbally torn to shreds during another drunken rage. Luli's "to be or not to be" moment comes when she gets off that bus. This movie was so "cold-hearted" that there were few dry eyes in the theater as its story unfolded.
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