21 July 2008 | wes-connors
Fifteen-year-old Gary McCleery (as Bobby Lipscomb) skips school, hangs around with his older brothers, and dreams of flying airplanes. One evening, he makes the "Hard Choice" and joins drug-addicted Martin Donovan (as Josh Lipscomb) and trigger happy John Snyder (as Ben Lipscomb) in a "Food Market" robbery. Unfortunately, Mr. Snyder kills a police officer, who happens upon the scene. The three brothers are quickly apprehended. Mr. McCleery hopes to be tried as a juvenile; but, Tennessee judges rule he is to be tried as an adult. When things look bleakest for young McCleery, social worker Margaret Klenck (as Laura Stephens) steps in to improve his treatment in prison and the courts; she is only partially successful. Then, Ms. Klenck makes a "Hard Choice" of her own
According to the sleeve, this film got excellent reviews; and, the quotes are from reliable sources. Perhaps some of these reviewers will consider re-evaluation "Hard Choices"? It really isn't all that believable a story. McCleery doesn't seem much like a 15-year-old, and Klenck's character development is disappointing (to say the least). However, they, and the other performers, do as well as they can (with the story). It's great to see Mr. Donovan in an early role; strangely, he and Snyder are abandoned during the running time. Writer-director John Sayles is good, also, as Klenck's coke companion. The photography, by Tom Hurwitz, is a major strength.
**** Hard Choices (1985) Rick King ~ Gary McCleery, Margaret Klenck, John Sayles, Martin Donovan