It’s not often you get to take your kid to a film festival and expose her to what you do for a “living.” There’s a little apprehension because I’m not sure how she’ll react or if she’ll have fun. I’m fully expecting to leave early out of boredom. Then there’s me. I’m taking her to see a bunch of shorts and features specifically for kids. I can barely tolerate the constant stream of the Disney Channel, Fuller House, and My Little Pony.
The idea behind the web series, Soci Circle, is simple. Four tween friends, all girls, set together at some location: bedroom, poolside, campfire, and talk about their struggles as a tween girl. The topics range from friendship, frenemies, bullying, cultural differences, and the kid’s favorite topic, overbearing parents. As each girl tells her story, the events are played out through simplistic, animated illustrations, very limited animation.
“Four tween friends, all girls…talk about their struggles as a tween girl.”
When the story ends, the other three girls encourage, support, empathize, and do what good friends do. After the story about the girl who wants to quit violin, but afraid to tell her parents, my kid leans over and loudly whispers in my ear, “That’s me!!!” Then I cry like a little…ugh…baby.
The production is simple, four girls just talking and a little animation. But the final product is effective. The script is dialogue heavy, and the young actresses are talented enough to pull it off. The cast is diverse. Every culture is represented. The topics are just as diverse to reach every child.
“…from the eyes of the child. They’re not being talked down to…
Best of all, the dialogue is not written from a parent’s perspective, but from the eyes of the child. They’re not being talked down to and tricked into being nice. The dialogue is authentic; kids are not easily fooled. I won’t go as far as to say, Soci Circle is this generation’s Mr. Rogers, but it’s going in the right direction.
Not that my kid is a film critic, I can tell you she lit up watching Soci Circle. She was focused, not talking (which she does a lot), and smiling. We saw this at Dances With Films, and she was waving at the cast as they walked to the front. During the Q&A session, the moderator points to my direction and to my surprise, my kid is asking a question. Do yourself a favor, if you have a tween child, watch Soci Circle together and let a magical moment between you and your child just simply happen.
Soci Circle (2018) Directed by Cindy Baer. Written by Tiana S. Clark, Candice Smalls, Subika Anwar, Gina Omilon, Sophia Donan, Alessandra Adina, Michelle Augustin, Aarushi Agni, Charulata Sinha, Mathilda Chua, Ainslie Smith, Nicole Graczyk, My-Linh Vo. Starring Aline Arslanian, Alyssa Aure, Madysan Clark, Isabelle Fowler, Gemma Ginsburg, Joelle Lewis, Jessica Liu, Shiara Navarro, Tiffany Ngo, Rika Pinto, Briana Roy, Maxine Sutton.
8 out of 10 stars