17 June 2018 | proud_luddite
Good character study
During the summer in a resort area on the northern Ontario shore of Lake Superior, three boys in their early teens hang out together. They include Adam, a quiet boy from a well-off family; Riley a tough boy who lives in a modest home with his grandmother; and Nate, Riley's equally tough cousin who is staying with Riley and their grandmother during the summer.
Knowing that this was yet another boys-coming-of-age movies, my first reaction was "Good God, not ANOTHER one"! But there are some films in this category that stand out among the (seemingly) thousands of others. "Sleeping Giant" is one of them. For one thing, Adam does not go along with the hyper-macho talk of the other boys or the milder macho talk coming from his father. There are more than a few hints that Adam might be gay.
The first half is rather difficult. Nate is so viciously mean-spirited and bullying that the viewer can feel dragged through an endurance test. This is partly because of the accuracy of the portrayal of teenaged bullies. While it is more than tempting to wish Nate harm due to his meanness, these feelings change in the second half when major dramatic turns take place.
Feelings come to the surface during a board-game. This sequence is powerful for many reasons. One is that it is so true-to-life with one character acting as an inconsistent rule enforcer.
The drama that follows is compelling and moving thus making the tough slogging of the first half well worth the experience. There are other fine characterizations as well including Adam's father who is trying to be a father while also trying to appear "cool" to the teenagers.