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Mar 18, 2011<div style="width:250px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/smile-pretty-13977109"><img src="http://content7.flixster.com/photo/13/97/71/13977109_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <B><I>SMILE PRETTY</I> (2009)</B> Independent WRITTEN BY: Rachel Calendar DIRECTED BY: Harry Bromley Davenport FEATURING: Scout Taylor-Compton, Pete Chekvala, Alexander Knezevich, Shannon Collis, and Kevin McCorkle GENRE: DRAMA-SUSPENSE TAGS: psychological thriller, adult, disturbing <B>PLOT:</B> An underage Internet sex model forms a dangerous love triangle with her conflicted, amoral protector and a 14 year old runaway in this edgy, salacious thriller about the calamity that breaks loose when the careless and impetuous make their own rules. COMMENTS: <I>Smile Pretty</I> is unusual because it boldly presents unpleasant realities as having complex nuances, the ones which prevent us from summarily condemning social inequities we fear and despise. Even more intriguingly, it has some depth for being a psychological thriller about controversial sex. This is because it examines the concept that it takes a very special kind of person to pick up the tab for living outside society's rules. When you break the rules, where do you stop? When you do it in a way that draws in other people, how to you establish, justify and enforce new limits when all parties are bound together by a mutual propensity to <I>not</I> follow any kind social contract? Wow! What a wild, unsettling movie! I was uncomfortable the entire time, squirming on the edge of my seat. Neither preachy, nor contrived, <I>Smile Pretty</I> will dangle you in morbid suspense while it exposes some unpleasant ambiguities about non-traditionally aged relationships. Which is to say adult guys and jail bait. But "Nasty," short for Nastassia, (Taylor-Compton) is no ordinary jail-bait. Cunning and manipulative, conniving and selfishly-motivated, we still can't help but feel sympathy for her when she entraps an older guy, Matt (Chekvala) into an immoral romance. Matt it turns out, has some sinister secrets and a lot of creepy baggage. While he is as amoral as Nastassia, he is tortured by churning inner conflicts. He struggles to resist his inappropriate preference for underage girls, while doing his best to protect Nastassia. Matt tries to shield her from an abusive step-father who just happens to be screwing, hitting and psychologically abusing Nastassia when he's not selling her nude photos on the Internet. But Nastassia asserts that she enjoys sex with older guys and being a porn model. Has she been brainwashed, or is she thinking for herself? Deliverance is within easy reach, but does she want it enough not to contravene real help should it come? Torn between affection and hate for her exploitive guardian, Nastassia decides to pursue an illicit affair with Matt, who strives to avert her ploys to seduce him. Living unconventional lives, Nastassia, her stepfather and Matt comprise a teetering, incendiary Mumblety-peg tourney of volatile personalities, all of whom play on a dangerous margin outside the law. Given their culpable natures and actions, the trio are condemned to explore illicit solutions to simmering tensions as their scary situation escalates out of control. When Nastassia creates a love triangle by bringing an underage runaway named Samantha (Collis) into the mix, the new girl becomes an explosive catalyst who jacks up the already smoldering, powder-keg of emotion to a new dimension. Her presence ignites the volatile cauldron of unstable personalities and passions into an all-out, fiery maelstrom of jealousy, rage, criminal sex, imprisonment, conspiracy and violence. In addition to being suspenseful and lurid, this offbeat psychological thriller is also thoughtful, raising some intriguing issues about minors and sex, without being preachy, stereotypical, or insulting our intelligence. <I>Smile Pretty</I> honestly examines the contentions and the psyches of those involved in a way that is multi-faceted and three dimensional. This is to say, it explores the grey areas as well as the characters' complexities without flatly portraying them in black and white. Since <I>Smile Pretty</I> abstains from absolute judgment, the result is a riveting, engrossing, and believable story. The ensuing treatment is provocative and disquieting because screenwriter Rachel Calendar isn't afraid to address frequently suppressed, ancillary hypocrisies and realities. <div style="width:120px;font-size:10px;text-align:center;"></div><a href="http://www.flixster.com/videos?videoId=11140151"><img src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/fDFMZL9qo84/0.jpg" border="0" /></a><div style="font-size:10px;width:120px;text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"><I>Smile Pretty</I> </a> - trailer</div>Pamela D Super Reviewer
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