Trapped in his drug-dependent mother, Liz’s, Lower East Side apartment, 16-year-old Finn Earl wants nothing more than to escape New York.
Finn is a teenager, with an absentee father, an anthropologist. He has never met his father but has a deep yearning to be with him, summering inSouth Americastudying the indigenous cultures, the Iskanani Indians, also called the “Fierce People.
As it is, he is stuck in a tiny apartment on the East side, hardly a salubrious existence. What’s worse is that his mother, Liz, is a drug addict, who just about provides for the pair of them by working as a masseuse. In a desperate, last ditch attempt to drag both her own and Finn’s lives back on track, Liz decamps from theEast Sideand relocates the pair to a guest house on the estate of one of her clients, an ageing billionaire Ogden C. Osbourne. There, both Liz and Finn find that the real “Fierce People” now surround them, the ultra rich, and ultra powerful.
People who have very little care for the lives of those they see as being beneath them, gods playing with the lives of mortals. Liz has a journey to face, a battle against her own addiction and a determination to let Finn love and trust her once again, however the apple cart is upset when Finn falls for Osbourne’s daughter.
The movie has a fantastic cast withDiane Laneand Anton Yelchin as respectively Liz and Finn and there is strong back up from the ever wonderful Donald Sutherland as Osbourne. All of the cast are strong but Yelchin completely owns the movie, showing Finn struggling through his adolescent years and trying to find an identity.
Director Griffin Dunne and writer Dirk Wittenborn use this as the core of the story, it’s emotional heart, though this is no mere coming of age film, it’s a complex story which has a great deal to say about class and privilege, comparing the super rich which Finn finds himself dealing with to a strange tribe, one that cannot be understood without anthropological study.
It’s very well made also, with Yelchin’s voice carrying over segments of his absent father’s movies, this is a brilliant, sensitive and joyous movie, an absolute must see.