Hide Your Smiling Faces (2014)
Critic Consensus: Its meditative pace and low-key approach may prove too ponderous for some, but Hide Your Smiling Faces will cast a potent spell on viewers patient enough to let it unfold.
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Critic Reviews for Hide Your Smiling Faces
[Features an] outsider perspective, authentic locations, unforced naturalism, and fresh, improvisatory work by first-time actors.
There's a startling stillness about the film, especially the opening scenes, that becomes a character in itself and helps to avoid softness.
Traces of classic coming-of-age dramas such as Stand by Me and River's Edge are evoked in this lyrical and low-key reflection on sudden mortality and childhood's end.
Despite its languid pacing, there's an underlying unease that never entirely relaxes its grip.
The long silences and overdone symbolism make this feel like a hodgepodge of Mud, King of Summer and just about every other American indie film.
Audience Reviews for Hide Your Smiling Faces
Another low-budget film that sets tone and cinematography above story, and it doesn't help it. For the first part of the film you are rather mesmerized with the minimalist approach to the story, and the poetic nature of the images. But as the story of this group of boys progresses, I found myself less and less interested with what was going on.
What director Daniel Carbone does so well is capturing the innocence and precarious nature of middle school boys. As they get into trouble, they also have a playful tone about them. Carbone really understands this and portrays that very well. He also casts the young boys perfectly, and their journey into grief and trauma seems believable and understandable given what they experienced.
However, it's imagery and, seemingly, form-less structure begins to feel tiring, repetitive, and monotonous at times. Carbone is great at establishing the tone he wants, but over the course of the movie the tone begins to feel trying and tiring. It definitely has some solid moments, and Carbone gets the small moments right. But since the overarching structure of the plot isn't there, you don't care too much.
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