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Steal Me (Unrated)

Release Date: September 9th, 2005 (NYC-Village East Cinemas)
The Cast: Danny Alexander, Hunter Parrish, Cara Seymour, John Terry, Paz de la Huerta.
Directed by Melissa Painter.

BASIC PREMISE: Jake (Alexander), a 15 year-old petty thief, ends up living with another teenager, Tucker (Parrish), and his family in a small Montana town.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: A truly good movie often begins with a truly good script. This film is blessed with not only a very well-written script, but three young actors who each give a surprisingly convincing performance. The plot starts off very simple as Jake commits his petty crimes, i.e. stealing car parts. After he befriends Tucker, he is given the opportunity to change his lifestyle. Once he is welcomed to stay with Tucker's family, the plot becomes much more complex. There, he not only secures a job helping with Tucker's father (Terry), but ends up building a potential romance with Lily (de la Huerta), a very beautiful neighbor who Tucker has a secret crush on. In a funny yet uncomfortable twist, Jake ends up having sex with Lily's single mother. He even tries to seduce Tucker's mother (Seymour). There is one very beautifully-shot scene when Jake, Tucker, and Lily go out to the field and just lay beside each other. There is a suggested sexual chemistry between Jake and Tucker, but it is never fully explored. There are other scenes of good cinematography, mostly involving shots of pretty flowers, trees, and a picturesque sky. The thin plot progresses with a slow pace. The only real plot tension is whether or not Jake will return to his old, troubled lifestyle and how he might affect the innocent Tucker. A character-driven film with fully-developed characters is always engaging to watch no matter how thin plot is or how slow is its pace. It is also quite refreshing that it does not rely on plot twists for a change.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: This is a very quietly affecting movie without any melodrama or contrived scenes. The characters are real because of how complex their emotions are. It is very uplifting and inspiring that Tucker's family warmly allows Jake to live with them as if he were their son. It is very moving and interesting how a troubled young man can affect the people around him by making them realize how important it is to have a family. Jake eventually realizes the true meaning and value of love, compassion, and friendship.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A thin and predictable plot.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A very warm and down-to-earth film with a well-written script, complex characters, and beautiful cinematography.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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