by Vadim Rizov


Terri sounds like a potentially unwatchable splicing together of two different kinds of movies: a Larry Clark cavalcade of teenagers with body issues and volatile hormones meets an uplifting crowd pleaser. The characters are stigmatized and/or isolated by their physical appearance and externalized mental problems. But having tackled the not-at-all funny topic of a grown man too paralyzed by a nameless fear to leave his parents' home in Momma's Man, director Azazel Jacobs has the appropriate slow rhythms and non-saccharine instincts to render unpleasant, difficult life moments in a tough-but-compassionate way.

At the forefront is awkwardly hulking Terri (Jacob Wysocki), an ungainly teen boy made daily sport of because of his size, whose best friend—seemingly by default—is obscenity-spouting JD Chad (Bridger Zadina), who obsessively tears his hair out by the roots while waiting for his many disciplinary meetings, leaving a nasty bald streak on his head. Other oddballs helping to shape Terri's understanding of people include his Alzheimer's-stricken Uncle James (Creed Bratton) and his schoolmate Heather Miles (Olivia Crochiciccia), who looks like a perfectly airbrushed Disney Channel tween idol airdropped into a decrepit high school.

Ostensibly, Terri is an outsiders-bond-together-and-grow film, but with harsh doses of physical reality: Terri's big in every way (bone structure, height, weight, girth). Instead of turning into a Precious-esque freak show, the film gives the audience time to get comfortable with the protagonist as he himself is learning to embrace being in his own skin.


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