'Some Freaks' review: Teen love complicated by outsider status

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Writer-director Ian MacAllister-McDonald makes his directorial debut with “Some Freaks,” a touching if often devastating

Writer-director Ian MacAllister-McDonald makes his directorial debut with “Some Freaks,” a touching if often devastating story of the connections that high school weirdos can find in each other and what happens when they try to not be freaks anymore. Thomas Mann stars as Matt, a tormented teen saddled with an eye patch, who begins a romance with the new girl in school, the aunt of his neurotic gay friend Elmo (Ely Henry). Jill (Lily Mae Harrington) is overweight, blue-haired, and pierced, and she and Matt find a sweet solace in each other, away from the jabs of their classmates.

Like any high school couple, college changes everything, and for these two, their physical changes lead to emotional challenges. Jill morphs into a smaller, blonder California girl, while Matt fits himself with a false eye. But their evolutions drive a wedge between them, their bond forged in their outsider status.

Rising star Mann is haunting as Matt, yearning for love and acceptance, but the breakout star of “Some Freaks” is Harrington, who not only goes through a physical metamorphosis but turns in a performance that explores the nuanced transitions from sweet to hurt to barbed. She may be accepted, but she struggles to ultimately accept that fact.

“Some Freaks” explores the way in which those who are teased and tortured for being different can turn on other outsiders, and the emotional trauma of that poisonous isolation. This visceral and anxiety-laden vision ends on an uneasy, though hopeful, note.

"Some Freaks" -- 2.5 stars

No MPAA rating

Running time: 1:37

Opens: Friday at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton, www.facets.org

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