Joanne (Sommer Knight) and Billy (Brandon Hiott) are the new kids in town. A lovely teenager starving for affection, Joanne attracts the wrong kind of attention when she has sex with Tony (Todd Surber), the town tough, only to have the encounter displayed for all to see on the internet. When Billy introduces his devastated sister to Nathan (David King), an orphaned recluse who lives by himself in the creepy dilapidated house where his parents died, she finds a kindred spirit; someone who’s even lonelier and more estranged than herself. She discovers that when Nathan was five, his dog was struck and apparently killed by a car, only to leap unharmed from his arms. Nathan’s mother, a bit of a religious nut, to put it kindly, brainwashed him into believing he had the gift of healing, forced him to wear gloves and made him swear that he’d never touch another human so as to protect him from sinners. So much for the ol’ Christian spirit. When Joanne breaks it off with Tony, the seething canker sore of scarcely repressed rage reacts violently, sorely putting Nathan’s oath to the test.
Setting aside the obvious surface resemblance to “Edward Scissorshands,” (freaky orphaned misfit with hand issues,) Brad Marlowe’s “Wednesday’s Child” is the rare indie drama that clicks on most cylinders. While Marlowe’s none-too-subtle script plays a bit stilted on occasion, that’s a minor quibble. Knight is achingly endearing whether playing the prom queen or the bride of Marilyn Manson while King — think a trippy James Spader — is equally excellent as the troubled recluse, Nathan. This slickly-produced film recently won the Austin Film Festival, which made it a real drag when the screening I attended was cancelled due to technical snafus. After waiting so long to see the film, I’d love to be able to gush nothing but glowing platitudes about how “Wednesday’s Child” was an awe inspiring classic, but that’d be pushing it. Elegant and finely crafted, it is a very good film, however, that was more than worth the wait.