By Admin | May 11, 2004

The first thing you notice about the fifteen year-old main character in Michael A. Picchiottino’s film “Clipping Adam” is his long, curly, dirty blond hair. With bangs down to his eyebrows, a mane just past his shoulders, and clothes that scream “comfort” over “cool,” Adam Sheppard (charming newcomer Evan Peters) looks like he should be in a grunge-rock band. Putting the long hair and the film’s title together, you know that one of the plot elements will involve Adam getting a haircut that he doesn’t want. Via flashbacks originating from Adam’s memories, you conclude that his mother was probably the only person who cut his hair. Since she died in a car accident two years and two months ago, Adam has let his hair grow out for sentimental reasons.

In addition to examining what Adam’s hair represents, “Clipping Adam” also looks at the different ways people deal with loss. Adam displays signs of anger and minor forms of rebellion at school, but he generally just wants things to be “normal.” He knows that his life can’t be like it used to be, but his laidback demeanor and angelic countenance suggest that he would rather not make any waves. Adam’s father Tommy (Chris Eigeman), on the other hand, prefers self-pity and bottles of alcohol. They may think they have everything under control, but Adam’s grandmother (Louise Fletcher) knows better. Through her efforts, they realize that things aren’t okay and they must change.

Picchiottino handles the characters and their problems in a humanistic way. He doesn’t turn Tommy into a raging alcoholic nor does he plague Adam with clichéd school problems. He does get into trouble at school (for getting into a fight that was instigated by his “personal” bully), and he befriends one of the popular kids, but it’s genuine. The film doesn’t incorporate any obligatory characters or plot points. All the people in the movie, from Principal Briggs (Robert Pine) to Father Dan (Kevin Sorbo), have an immediate and necessary impact on Adam.

The notion that traumatized children and troubled teenagers can be and need to be saved from a life of probable crime and potential poverty may seem like a lost cause in some people’s eyes, but “Clipping Adam” reiterates that it doesn’t have to be a waste of time to help a kid. As demonstrated by the friendship that develops between Adam and Johnny (Bryan Burke), kids just need friends and a sense of security.

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