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  • Warning: Spoilers
    GIANT LITTLE ONES is a solid film, the kind that is great to discuss as it successfully does something that most films (unfortunately) don't do: it re-incorporates its themes throughout in big and small ways with major and minor characters.

    For example: You'd think that the minor character Mouse is meant to be nothing more than comic relief and a throwaway character (meaning that the screenwriter could omit Mouse from the script, and the rest of the film would not be harmed significantly for that loss), but you'd be wrong; she is enormously important in relating the movie's core Theme.

    Mouse makes Franky really think about the value of owning one's sexuality, and she cites examples of people who don't care what others think about them and, as a result, they are respected for their confidence and ownership of Self. And she is an example of accepting others as they wish to be seen without question -- a lesson that other characters need to learn including Franky (our protagonist).

    The relationship between Franky and his father for much of the film seems stagnant and forever distant, but it's not. It takes a long time, but watch as it starts to shift; it is indicative of a shift in Franky's perceptions about his own sexual fluidity... AND his ability to own it. In other words, he takes Mouse's words to heart and, in time, he owns his sexuality -- whatever it may be.

    Not knowing what happened between Franky and Ballas in bed is an excellent directorial choice because, like the other characters, we don't actually know the truth for quite a while. So, like the other kids at school, we can only assume (perhaps incorrectly) who did what to whom; we don't actually know the truth. And neither Franky nor Ballas know or acknowledge their own truths.

    And the ending is terrific. It is not neatly tying up all the loose ends of Franky's relationship with Ballas (as most people expect and/or want) because, at its core, the film isn't about that. This film is about the acts of Ownership (particularly of Franky's ownership of his own sexuality) and Acceptance (particularly of his dad and Ballas).

    In the end, Franky recognizes that Ballas has had extreme difficulty owning his own sexuality. Franky can finally see that Ballas is suffering, and he lets Ballas know that he is aware of that... but loves him anyway, as a friend... and maybe more (though, again, that doesn't matter).

    Franky matures enormously through this film, and we know by its conclusion that after this movie is over, he will be patient person with others and make an excellent friend, an excellent sexual partner and an excellent father. In his confidence, he is owning Self and accepting of others.

    Loved it.

    And a final thought about the title -- I don't think it's a reference to growing up ("little ones" being kids). I have a sense that "little ones" refers to the cautious baby steps we take in life, and sometimes we need to take giant, confident grown-up steps in life in order to change for the better.

    10/10
  • ... but one that shifts the perspective sufficiently to make it a refreshing take on an often overcooked theme. It's also believable and doesn't rely on melodramatic effect to present adolescence and the wide range of maturities young adults portray. Some excellent acting by some talented future stars, as well as those more established, makes this film well worth your time and attention.
  • kbraidi1 August 2019
    This is a very well made, well cast film. The main subject is adolescence, and how painful it can be. While most of the reviews here seem to be wholly focused on the sexuality aspect, it is also largely about how teens navigate the ebbs and flows of their social relationships, both with their peers and with their parents. Sexual experimentation is on view, to be sure, as is unchecked homophobia and the havoc it can wreak. The film presents no easy resolutions to the problems encountered along the way. Just like real life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Giant Little Ones (the odd title is never explained) starts out like it's about straight teenage boys -- making out with girls, bragging about "doing it", and other crap I don't want to see or hear. I almost turned it off, figuring the only thing gay about it was going to be the side story about a father who ran off with another man.

    Then, after it took a gay turn, it seemed to be showing that homophobia is even worse in Canada than it is here, which could have been great (I'm tired of hearing that Canada is so much better and more progressive than the US) if it hadn't been so brutally upsetting that I had to skip over some of it.

    Finally, about halfway through, it turned out to be something completely different, not like any other movie I have ever seen, and everything about it is excellent.

    It's the story of lifelong best friends Franky and Ballas (where they got that name is beyond me, but it's highly distracting, and it's my only major complaint about the movie) who do everything together and obviously care a lot about each other. They both have affluent and supportive families (Franky's dad is the gay one, but he's still actively involved with his kids and his ex-wife) and go to an affluent, suburban and evidently all-white public high school in Ontario (filmed in Sault Ste Marie, but that's probably irrelevant). They're both good-looking, smart, popular, and on the school's swim team. They both have attractive, popular girlfriends, although Ballas is the one who brags about what he does with his.

    During a very drunken sleepover after Franky's birthday party, Ballas gives Franky a bj (shown only as moving covers on a bed in the dark with sound effects). Afterward Ballas is terrified, so he preemptively tells his girlfriend (and therefore the whole school) that he woke up with Franky giving HIM the bj. Some already-hinted-at homophobia at school breaks out of the closet (especially, and predictably, on the swim team), and Ballas leads an unbelievably cruel, prolonged and relentless verbal and physical attack on Franky. The fact that they'd been so close is what makes Ballas's cruelty so extraordinarily hard to watch.

    What sets this movie apart from and above every other movie about teenage coming-out is the amazing but entirely believable way Franky deals with what happens. I won't say any more, but this is far and away the best such movie I have ever seen (I've seen them all) or anyone else will see in several lifetimes.

    Franky is an amazing and completely original character, and Josh Wiggins, the actor who plays him, cannot be praised highly enough. I've never been a Kyle MacLachlan fan, but he's perfect as Franky's dad, as are Maria Bello as his mom and Darren Mann as Ballas. There are no weak performances in the movie, and the screenplay and direction are perfect as well.

    Even the brutal homophobia (which I'm sick of seeing in movies) is essential and never gratuitous, and it is totally transformed by Franky's amazing and transcendent -- and yet completely believable -- response to it. Very, very, VERY highly recommended.
  • SYNOPSIS: Franky (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas (Darren Mann) are popular high school swimmers and are also best friends. After sharing an intimate act together at a party when everyone left, Franky is left questioning his sexuality as Ballas slanders Franky to other students.

    REVIEW: A hidden gem is exactly how I'd describe this film. Came out very early in 2019 and for some reason no one was talking about it. It wasn't marketed much at all. In fact, I only saw it because one day I decided to check my theater that gets independent films early sometimes and I watched the trailer to this.

    This coming-of-age film is really grounded and touches on sexuality in a very sincere a real way. I'm heterosexual, however, I've had gay friends and I've heard plenty of stories of how people are treated when coming out. I loved the dynamic of Franky having this sexual act with his friend and still denying being gay. I feel that's a very real thing. Also, having gone a few years hating his father for leaving his mother after revealing himself as homosexual. Then still having a hard time having the courage to go to his father for advice. Josh Wiggins is incredible at playing this character and really emulating someone going through an incredibly tough and confusing situation while also being very young and KYLE MacLachlan was great as his father. You also see how his best friend handles the situation, which is by slandering Franky in order to save face. A very toxic way to handle this, but it was also believable to me to see this exterior "alpha" feeling the need to survive in his environment and prove to still be "strong" due to the mis-directed thought that you can't be yourself and be strong at the same time. I truly hope that more people end up seeing this film one way or another. If you're reading this... it's not too late. I don't care what drake says. Go see it. 8.3/10.
  • This remarkable film deals with many issues, but at it's core, the pulse of the film beats around the nature of homophobia and the toxic tentacles it has that chokes so many lives, while it spins its tale of adolescence and the turmoil of getting to grips with ones true essence. Giant Little Ones is a beautiful treatment of emerging sexuality and the beauty and ugliness of the personal struggles that that involves for many. The admirable thing about this film is that it completely usurps audience expectations based on the casting and the journeys these characters take. It treats the subject of homo-hatred and self loathing in a way that is both challenging and confronting. Expertly acted by the entire cast, this little gem is well worth your time. It's got lots of surprises and ultimately leaves you with more questions than answers...unlike most 'hollywood' films, this indie stunner is rich in thought and spirit. Highly recommended! Five Stars.
  • Its basic virtues - the performances, the dialogue, the build of story. And the realistic portrait of teenagers. The vulnerabilities, the ambiguities, the selfishness and self discover, the characteristics of relations, the love levels, the fair perspective about thrill and seduction, the public image, the parents and the fight to be yourself, the incident and real life and, not the last, the perfect music. A film about a state of soul.
  • It never would have happened if we weren't wasted.

    Just like in chemistry class at the start of the film, there's a lot of intense experimenting among the youngsters in this movie. Especially sexually. However, when this experimenting turns out bad for Ballas (Darren Mann), he starts losing his mind. Because it could be detrimental to his reputation as a tough stallion who prefers to brag about the number of times he did it with his girlfriend. His blood brother, friend for life and partner in crime Franky (Josh "Walking Out" Wiggins) suddenly becomes the feared enemy. Franky is treated as a purebred pariah whose proximity causes paranoid reactions. As if he's the carrier of disgusting STDs. From one day to the next, Franky belongs to the camp of the outcasts in a youth community where popular teens, who measure up to the ideal of beauty, are in charge and seem to lay down the standard rules for acceptance.

    "Giant Little Ones" belongs both in the category of "Coming of age" films and the category containing films with a gay/lesbian theme. Now about that last item. The film deals with that topic in a clever way. And this by not explicitly revealing anything about the actual sexual orientation of the persons involved. At the end of the film, we still don't know whether Franky or Ballas should come out of the proverbial closet. And that makes "Giant Little Ones" a film that feels authentic. As in reality, some people need a lot of time to discover their sexual preferences. The only personage in this film who does this coming-out is Franky's father (a limited but defining role played by Kyle "Twin Peaks" MacLachlan). A situation that causes conflicting feelings for Franky. On the one hand, there is a love-hate relationship between him and his father. Its the opinion of Franky that Ray has disrupted the ideal family portrait and that he abandoned them. On the other hand, Franky starts to have doubts regarding his sexual orientation. There's the question of whether or not he has inherited genetic material from his father.

    The whole fuss starts when Franky and Ballas go to bed and sleep there together after a hellish birthday party, during which excessive alcohol and probably other mind-altering drugs are consumed. Initially, it all looks like a perfectly normal idea. Two friends sleeping in the same bed. Although, they both are in a questionable state. And all this because the plans Franky had with his so-called girlfriend Priscilla, failed that evening. That's why they ended up together, instead of fooling around with their girlfriends. Anyway, it's abundantly clear that their friendship reached a completely different level that evening. Blurred images of someone tossing and turning plus one of the two fleeing the scene early in the morning, are both good indications to back this up. When afterward Ballas takes a distant demeanor (or even better, an aggressive, hostile attitude) and visibly doesn't want any contact with Franky anymore (and other fellow students as well.

    Josh Wiggins' acting is outstanding. A fresh young man who on the one hand effortlessly is invited to the club of popular boys and at the same time has an attitude as if this reputation doesn't really interest him. Darren Mann also played a convincing role and was the perfect choice to play the role of Ballas. He has a charisma that fits such a guy who makes peers' lives miserable because they are less fortunate when it comes to appearance and heritage. Such a kid who must uphold his reputation with his fellow confreres and therefor degrades himself to harassment and play that annoying tough-guy routine. And of course, such a person is idolized by members of the opposite sex who practice the same standards. Let's try and describe such a girl. A blond bimbo with a shockingly low IQ whose sole purpose in life is to open her well-shaped, slender tanned legs wide open as quickly as possible in such a way that this popular jock can get his kicks. A victory for the young lady in question whose reputation goes sky-high among like-minded female souls. And finally, I think Taylor Hickson's role was the most moving.

    Visually, "Giant Little Ones" isn't really spectacular. But narratively speaking, it's an excellent, almost brilliant film. The film shows how fake a part of American youth is. A plastic payment card has more character and charisma than most of those mannequins from posh circles. Not only these cartoonish fake persons with their derogatory and homophobic behavior are being presented here. But also those who stay true to themselves, are put in the spotlight. The message "Be yourself" is extensively displayed here. The hilarious lesbo Mouse (Niamh Wilson) in particular loudly proclaims this message by doing things the way she likes it. "Giant Little Ones" has both emotional and funny moments. And what it mainly did, was surprise me. In a positive way, that is.

    More reviews here: movie-freak.be
  • Sensual, pensive and tumultuous, yet simultaneously coy and lighthearted, this swirl of self discovery is beautifully crafted. Often films of this ilk leave the story in the dust of artistic but self indulgent voyeurism; Giant Little Ones does not fall prey to this vice, balancing gorgeous cinematography and tasteful, glancing celebrations of the beauty of youth with deftly invisible editing and sharp attention to narrative, character and pacing. Dialogue and delivery never seem stilted, and the performances of the key cast were exceptional. This artwork picks out and highlights the melancholic beauty of the imperfection of being human, exploring those times in life where identity and boundaries of "self" are in turmoil, where the windows to the inner cores of even our closest loved ones are opaque, wistfully celebrating those brief moments where we can see through the haze and make a connection.
  • KarenAM1 October 2018
    A film about the fluidity of sexuality and how modern society should not put labels on everything and everyone. While there's nothing wrong with the acting, directing, or production values; the writing however is a little too safe, and tries too hard to please everyone, and it sure will as in this case playing too safe is a winning card. Pretty solid movie about friendship, parenting, and social acceptance of ''atypical'' sexuality people are avoiding to talk about or deal with in real life.
  • First off, the cast is fantastic!

    The emotions going through the movie feel very real and not at all forced. I love how the way things play out aren't typical or trending with a lot of movies of similar subject matter that have come out in recent years.

    I will be recommending this to everyone I know!
  • I mean everything. With great performance from all not-so-known actor/actress, great telling about sexual experimentation, and even all relationship between character are so real, that you can imagine. Between their family problems clash with sexuality of the teenager and the parents, what a good blend to tell a nowadays problems.
  • Saw at film festival and was blown away. Every scene had the smallest details meaningful The young cast was amazing Shows so much talent to make this kind of film with so little funding. BRAVO
  • pennyelenabooks9 November 2018
    I have mixed feelings about this movie. Though some parts were enjoyable, some others were confusing. Here's what I liked: -The soundtrack -The performances -The middle part -The family dynamics and their relationship development -The relationship between the boy and his friend's sister Now, what I didn't like: -The open ending -They didn't explore his relationship with his friend more in depth -The character just accepted everything that happened to him -There were some plot holes and things that weren't properly explained, like the girl's past -The movie tried to be funny in some scenes and that was a bit awkward So, 5 out of 10.
  • dkm198111 November 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    According to the Plot Summary:

    "Two popular teen boys, best friends since childhood, discover their lives, families, and girlfriends dramatically upended after an unexpected incident occurs on the night of a 17th birthday party"

    It was on this basis that I purchased this movie. Fully expecting a story revolving around some form of Gay romance. I feel having watched the movie this is misleading to say the least.

    I can see a lot of reviewers love this movie but I have to say I'm torn. Probably because what I was expecting and what I got were two different things. And on the same token everything I liked about the film was countered by something I hated.

    I was really hoping that the story would focus more on the relationship between the two male friends Franky and Ballas (why the hell the writer thought this name was a good idea is beyond me - I'm not the first person to say I found it incredibly distracting). I found that it was anything but that as after the "incident" they shared very little screen time together other than to argue and fight, while Franky pursues some sort of relationship/friendship with Ballas's sister who carries her own emotional baggage, while also trying to re-connect with his estranged father who left Franky's mom to have a relationship with another man, and sharing a few scenes which provide nothing more than attempted comic relief as he helps/gets help from his wannabe transgender friend Mouse who is so stereotypical its actually quite offensive and not in the least bit amusing.

    The positive notes are certainly in the performances. I really thought the cast did a commendable job for the most part and another thing the film did was accurately portray what an incredibly blurred and confusing line "sexuality" is among young people today. Hardly surprising when Facebook offers something like 71 gender choices. We've certainly come a long way from the days when the question of "Sex?" on any questionnaire was usually answered with "Yes Please".

    Well today I am identifying as someone who is annoyed and somewhat let down by a film which could have offered so much more. Its become a common gripe of mine that film makers who make movies which lean towards the LGBT+ audience can never seem to give them a conclusive ending except when it ends on a negative (which it often does), instead going for either the usual cop out of the "you decide" open ending which resolves nothing (like this film does) or hinting at a happy ending but never quite going far enough to conclusively say "Yes, its love, they end up together".

    I don't know where they seem to get the preconceived notion that's what the audience want to see. I for one certainly don't. I can't think of how long it is since a gay themed movie actually delivered a happy conclusive ending. John Wayne rode off into the sunset many times during his long and distinguished career. Is that option really too much to ask for?
  • Allow a film to lift your mood/depression.

    Right, no spoilers and no context review. But instead a summary in how this fictional story changed my mindset, likely not for life, but certainly for a day or two.

    A story that keeps you intetested and one which have a particular resonance with people of the LBGTQ community.

    This story will start by depressing, worrying you a little. But keep with it, if I ask one thing it would be to at least commit yourself to the first 45 minutes. No less!!! That's not to say the remaining 48 minutes of the film does not contain difficult parts for the more sensitive viewer but it will give you the fortitude to continue. Again, 45 minutes!!!! No less :)

    I have watch a lot of films and have been guilty of stopping watching due to loss of interest, concerns it will take me too far down a depressive route or acting/production value. Only the depression aspect (which I am most sensitive too) are relavent for this cinematic treat.

    That last paragraph dilutes my message but it needed to me said, at least I think it does.

    Friends we love, old friends we've lost through our own and their own mistakes and new friends we make on our journeys through life. If you can identify yourself or another through these characters you may well find yourself valuing all of these relationships in a different light.

    Long story short, the only problem with this film is finding another to watch after to get the same uplifting feeling. Please watch this film!!!
  • In his 1948 study "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," Dr. Alfred Kinsey reported that everyone is bisexual to one degree or another and that this can be measured on a scale from 0 to 6. While sexual fluidity has grown in acceptance, it has not yet been explored in film to any great degree. Canadian director Keith Behrman's Giant Little Ones, however, in his first film since his 2002 indie "Flowers and Garnet," celebrates the complexities of life and relationships in the story of popular teenagers Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins, "Walking Out") and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" TV series). Best friends since childhood, their relationship is severely tested when they engage in oral sex after heavy drinking at Franky's 16th birthday party, an incident that leads both to question their orientation.

    The experience, which would normally be quickly buried, is inflamed when a fearful Ballas, hearing rumors and worried about having his masculinity challenged, betrays his lifelong friendship with Franky, spreading stories around the school that Franky was responsible for what occurred. The seduction scene is shown so quickly, however, that it is uncertain as to what actually took place. All we see is a darkened room and the movement of bodies under a blanket. A confused Franky becomes the target of abuse from his classmates, abuse that threatens his self esteem and puts a damper on his relationship with his girlfriend Cil (Hailey Kittle, "Falling Water" TV series), who had expected to lose her virginity on the night of Franky's birthday party.

    The only support he finds is in his sweet relationship with Ballas' sister Natasha (Taylor Hickson, "Everything, Everything"), whose own experience of bullying left her fearful of becoming close with another person. Franky's struggle for self-acceptance is also helped by his humorous relationship with Mouse (Niamh Wilson, "Saw V"), a trans friend who is there for more than comic relief. She personifies for Franky what it means to own one's sexuality and not be overburdened by what others think about her. Also lending support is Franky's father Ray, (Kyle MacLachlan, "High Flying Bird") who left the home to move in with another man.

    Protective of his mother Carly (Maria Bello, "Lights Out") and resentful of his father's sudden departure, it requires a long time for Franky to be willing to allow Ray to support him, but eventually, in a scene made real by MacLachlan's compassion and Wiggins raw sensitivity, a deeply-felt conversation takes place and is one of the film's high points. While Giant Little Ones succeeds in moving the needle in a positive direction, it nonetheless falls prey to some of the more clichéd aspects of the coming-of-age genre such as high schools filled with affluent, white students, actors who look closer to thirty years old than fifteen, stereotypes of alpha male high school jocks, and a host of badly undeveloped peripheral characters.

    The heart and the message of the film, however, transcend its limitations. Franky's growing ability to just be himself without having to fit into a rigid category is an important one and, to its credit, it is an ambiguity that Behrman does not find it necessary to clear up. Like the poet Charles Bukowski, Franky could say, "Something in me relaxed, smoothed out. I no longer had to prove that I was a man. I didn't have to prove anything." Like a rocket in a fireworks July, the flares that Franky and Natasha fire into the sky do not soar upwards in a straight line but bend in noticeable arcs before bursting into a bright red flame.
  • es-webeinkauf5 August 2020
    Warning: Spoilers
    Well, I thought 'Why wasting 93 minutes on watching anothter coming of age movie? Why those upper class highschool kids, why this unbelievable suburban blablahish sunny set as seen so many times before?' And then the (hi)story hit me. I actually could feel the struggle and pain of being that young (again?). But what made me really cry was one sentence: 'You're a good person ... I'm so proud to be your father!' So well delievered by Kyle MacLachlan who in this particular scene finally proved he's a talented actor. Oh, and did I mention that I love a good coming of age movie?
  • boldequinox18 August 2019
    Story of movie and the Father's dialogue, characters, ending is amazing. Mindblowing, I definitely recommend everyone.
  • lwatha7 November 2019
    I watched this movie on a late night trying to fall asleep and I actually managed to finish it... The reason I actually finished it, even though I did briefly pass out a few minutes, is that I had somehow missed what happened that had driven this movie. What I realised is that we weren't really shown what happened and who did what so the events and reactions that followed were just very confusing. If the best friend was embarrassed and/or ashamed of what happened then why did he tell the girls and the swim team - subsequently the whole school - about it. The fact that the confrontations really led nowhere added to my frustration. I wanted to finish it so that I can at least get some semblance of what really happened and how the boys really felt about it... Well, I mean outside of the anger and outbursts. Ballas' sister's story was also mentioned as sort of a bullet point. I mean, I get that she is a secondary character but her issue was a REALLY deep one and we were just made to casually acknowledge then ignore it. Franky's friend - the girl - was also very annoying. Her character was like a bad parody. The open-ending also didn't help things. I mean, Franky was basically made to be an outcast at school and that had a tremendous effect on his emotional state and, again, we're just made to accept that what Ballas did really didn't have any consequences *on him*. He (Ballas) got off scott-free. Other than having to suffer on the inside and being generally angry, there was nothing bad that happened tp him. Even after what he did outside the store, we only saw cops taking statements. This movie is just fluff with decent actors and really good music.
  • Giant Little Ones (2018) is a Canadian film written and directed by Keith Behrman.

    Josh Wiggins stars as Franky Winter, a good kid who is captain of the high school swimming team. Darren Mann portrays Ballas Kohl, who has been Franky's best friend for years. Taylor Hickson plays Natasha Kohl, Ballas' sister, who is the person Franky can trust the most.

    This is a complex film, with many related themes. Among the themes is, of course, adolescent sexuality. But the movie explores sexual fluidity, homophobia, bullying, and adults whose sexual orientation changes, at least outwardly.

    The movie struck me as real. We see people acting out events that could have happened to them. The acting is good, and the movie moves ahead logically, even as it twists and turns on its path forward.

    We saw this film at Rochester's independent Cinema Theatre, as half of a double feature sponsored by ImageOut, the Rochester LGBT Film Festival. ImageOut sponsors a superb festival in October. During the rest of the year they offer cinematic treats like this one. Everyone in the Rochester area is better off because of what they do.
  • This was a great movie find for me, am pretty up to date with alternative' genre. This movie has great actors all throughout was very impressed. Kyle and Maria bring name status if you will. Furthermore so great in researching, this is debut movie for its director and writer. Even more happy that this is from my home country Canada. It does not carry bad rep like many Canuck movies often do.

    My only complaint was the few sexy scenes they were made all too dark, not sure why one would go that route?! Even a night light would have sufficed with camera placing he he. The music was great which I often find too dominating and awful in many a movie; Am now planning to find songs. I had no problem with the ending. 8/10
  • wnorton-416 June 2019
    10/10
    Awesome
    This was a really good film. The acting was great. It wasn't the predictable crap usually associated with the genre.
  • After 24 hours of seeing this movie, it still stays in my mind as beautifully done. The dialog are not dull, the dynamics are complex and morphing as the movie develops yet, many parts seem very realistic. Some scenes seems to be skipping fast forward a bit but overall, this movie is not getting into cliche and has plenty of incredible cinematography with details and emotions. It is a well cast story of self-discovery and how two young boys take the experience they share in a very different way (and not as one would expect). it is a very realistic dynamic, Franky comes through as the more mature & complex character, taking the beating for the sake friendship and for the sake of doing the right thing - as the struggle he faces unfolds, we see him grow in many ways as we dive further into the development of many (initially peripheral) characters on their exploratory path in life.
  • Gordon-1112 January 2020
    This film tells an engaging story of two teenage guys. I like Natasha as well, she's really sweet. The ending is quite open ended though, I would have liked more closure.
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