A Kid Like Jake (2018)

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Critic Consensus: A Kid Like Jake poses some truly interesting possibilities -- many of which are lost in its overly cautious approach to an admittedly sensitive subject.

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Alex Wheeler (CLAIRE DANES) and her husband Greg (JIM PARSONS) are approaching a crossroads that is all too familiar to New York City parents - finding the "right" primary school for their son, Jake.* Greg is a therapist working to build a private practice, while Alex has put a law career on hold to devote herself full-time to raising her son, a precocious four-year-old who happens to prefer Disney princesses to G.I. Joe. Aware that Jake has the potential to be a candidate for a scholarship at a private school, Jake's preschool director Judy (OCTAVIA SPENCER), a trusted friend of the family, encourages Alex to mention Jake's "gender expansive" play in their applications. After all, Judy suggests, it's a big part of who is, and these schools are looking for diversity. Besides, she asks Alex, doesn't she want Jake to land somewhere he can really thrive? Despite some initial misgivings, Alex and Greg take Judy's advice. But as the process continues, Jake's behavior becomes increasingly erratic and perplexing, and the question of what's really going on with Jake starts to create a rift between the two parents. Alex worries that the adults in Jake's life are labeling him prematurely, while Greg wonders if Jake's fondness for dress-up might be more than just a phase. The comments and opinions of Alex's mother Catherine (ANN DOWD) and single friend Amal (PRIYANKA CHOPRA) only contribute to the noise, and pretty soon it seems like everyone in Jake's life has something to say about him. As they struggle to navigate their roles as parents, Alex and Greg begin to see that they are not only confronting their concerns about what's best for Jake, but also trying to save the bond they have with each other. The story of a husband and wife struggling to do right by their son, A Kid Like Jake is a study of intimacy and parenthood and the fantasies that accompany both.

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Critic Reviews for A Kid Like Jake

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (19)

It's a daring premise, which makes Howard's fluffy approach to the material all the more frustrating.

Jun 27, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

But the filmmakers seem to hold back from other confrontations, and their subplots involving the boy's pushy grandmother (the great Ann Dowd) and a brittle client (Amy Landecker) of the therapist father ultimately fizzle.

Jun 21, 2018 | Full Review…

The movie's premise sounds like it should be the basis for a barbed satire of the finest proportions. Instead, it opts for a tone that is decidedly sober and lacking any kind of sharp edge.

Jun 14, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Some of this material is too sensitive, granted, to have a very young actor play it. But "Jake" goes too far the other way, giving us only glimpses of the boy, who emerges as more of a symbol than a real child.

Jun 13, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It's like the Alex-and-Greg of woke-era problem pictures: bright, earnest and compassionate, if maybe just a little too much in its own head.

Jun 13, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

An authentic, conversational messiness we rarely see on screen.

Jun 4, 2018 | Full Review…
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