28 July 2001 | John Bethea
Brilliant multilayered depiction of American society
I caught a screening of this film on the Independent Film Channel three years ago, and recorded it because I had to go to work, so I've had ample opportunity to watch this film and analyze it in more than a cursory manner. Quite simply, this is a great, uncompromising film depicting people in unconventional relationships in an extremely fair and honest fashion.
Childhood's End is structured around the development of two relationships. The first one to develop is between Greg, a whiz kid photographer, and a friend of his mother's, Evelyn, a fortyish, sexually adventurous divorcee. The core of their relationship, which initially appears to be a shallow May-December/Oedipal sexual attraction, develops quickly into a deeper attachment, much to the horror of their family and friends alike. Two of these friends are Rebecca, an anxious teenage loner, and Denise, and outed lesbian. They fall in love, and form a relationship against the background of their troubled family lives. I don't have a fancy, polished way of explaining why it is that this movie is a great one. All I can tell you is that I've never seen anything so non-judgemental, or honest in all my life. These characters are not cardboard creations. Greg is an egomaniacal overgrown teenager shagging his mom's former best friend. This is not done for a laugh, and it isn't very pleasant to watch up close. Rebecca and Denise are in love, and that's just the way it is. The scene where the make love for the first time is the most explicit sex scene ever filmed, but somehow it is the furthest thing from pornography that I've ever seen, too. This film develops in a very unconventional fashion. I was constantly surprised by the frankness of the dialogue, and the direction that the plot took near the end. I'm not doing justice to all the other characters in the film( such as Chloe the model, who ends up as a Vegas showgirl), but there really are way too many to mention in the detail they would deserve. I look forward to the second film from Jeff Lipsky, whenever it may come.