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quite a thought provoking film splicing a range of stories with a variety of topics. coming out, domestic violence, rape, drug abuse, alcoholism, drink driving, murder & more. poignant family relationships and undercurrent of the value of life. brilliant acting and I was quite impressed with this little unknown indie film.
Too long, too aggressive, but turns out dull plus disjointed.
Once the movie Toy Soldiers marches into your life, it will never march out. It was meant for Erik Peter Carlson to take the journey, and bring this movie to life. The casting choice for Toy Soldiers was excellent. The movie has fresh new faces of young actors and actresses, playing alongside a few seasoned veterans of the business. Together, they portray the rawness and pure emotional characters of teenagers, family and friends, during one particular evening in the 1980s. The movie immensely captivates as you sink into the midst of the story and you can sense with vigor the emotional wounds of the teenagers and their families, the distress, the sadness, the hope and the love. There are no illusions in this movie, as it plays out in depth what happens that one destined evening translating the good and bad encountered by the cast onto the big screen. This movie definitely is worthy of repetitive viewing. I applaud Erik Peter Carlson and the cast of Toy Soldiers on a journey well-travelled together in order to bring about this wonderful original gem for movie fans.
I saw it at AMC Lowes in MA. It deserved the R rating, a bit explicit, but basically it told several interwoven, sometimes intense, personal stories, all experienced on one given day. A day when their roller rink was about to close. Good music, great acting and casting. Worth seeing. You will want to see it again.
Even better the second time
I enjoyed the usage of mystery in the writing. and the way it all tied together. Also liked the visual style. It looked like candy to me. Skittles and rainbows on film - but gritty. Yep that makes zero sense - so watch it if you want to find out what the heck I just said. Also enjoyed watching Chandler Rylko and Kevin Pinassi's acting choices.
Great Movie, Great Performances an Indie Gem!!!
Emily Blunt at BluntReview (dot) com says: Toy Soldiers is a wonderfully truthful, cuttingly visceral, look back at a handful of teens as one fate-filled evening, zeniths and forges new, or expected, paths for their next few decades...and, TS is a talent-filled indie film whose only downfall is in its editing; the old "coulda have been superb if editing had been tighter."
Story goes... Toy Soldiers is a popular roller skate hang spot for a group of teens. It's the 1980s and each is dealing with some really heavy .points of life; what will their future be. Can they be brave, kind, truthful and so forth. High drama.
Each character we are privy to is intertwined with the others - in that way that high school friends mean so much at the time. And, each person you meet reads real. Be aware there is no comic relief thrown in to offer respite from the often terribly ominous tales. But there are deep resonating characters you follow, and by the end, care for. Though, thanks again to editing mostly, you'll need to ride through a few confounding areas.
And if you're into a Oscar (r) fantasy league of our future thespians you can cull a couple from here. As there are probably three about-to-be great character actors plating upon the frames and maybe even a mass product star thrown in. For their work one should see the film.
Jeanette May Steiner, as Layla, and Najarra Townsend, as Angel, both turn their stereotype-on-paper role into layered infused women facing one helluva dark and stormy future...unless they can claw their ways out of their cruelly inflicted teen personas and fast. The performances are compelling - and in a big ensemble no less. Samuel Nolan plays the high school's "queer." His work in sharing the inner-boil any young person feels as an outcast who is whispered about and taunted will break and then warm the coldest of viewers' hearts. The maybe movie star? Chandler Rylko, as Elliot Harris, who even did a role as an Ashton Kutcher look alike before showing he can actually act here; a mansteak cutie with talent.
Toy Soldiers high drama is well executed and the words spoken so real you feel like you're intruding. The lives of these heading-to-adulthood-at-a-clip characters can be hard to watch, emotionally speaking; if you have a soul. Yet, the film's end, when writer/ director Erik Peter Carlson tags on a documentary-styled here's-what-happened-after blurb sentence on each, you realize why they seemed so real, this may just be a part of his own teen experience and his interpretation of a few of the people who populated it. Which is why it read so, but, wow, these kids had it pretty rough. This is a director to watch. When he learns the art of the edit? Yeah. A possible force.
Snack recommendation: Get the mega-junior mints and cookie dough nuggets; you're going to want sugary happy-place treats.
The Toy Soldiers is a Indie Gem, especially the award worthy performances. Go see this movie
Ahhh those wonderful teenage years. It certainly brought back feelings and memories, and I think everyone can relate to at least one of the characters and probably recognize them all from those times. The characters are well portrayed, often dark, but with a feeling that there is hope and they will be ok in the end. I like it more than I expected to.