Entertainment Weekly - 01/11/2008
"[A] movie that's as interesting as it is dewy-eyed..." -- Grade: B
Los Angeles Times - 02/08/2008
"[A] movie about adolescence unlike any other; an intimate portrait of a singular personality in the making and a stark look at our culture of suspicion and conformity."
Jennifer Venditti makes an astonishing directorial debut with BILLY THE KID. A New York City-based casting director, Venditti discovered the 15-year-old Billy Price while working on a short film in Maine. Misunderstood by seemingly everyone around him, Venditti decided to return to the small town with a camera to follow Billy around for a week and let him tell his own story. The result is an exhilarating work of nonfiction that is both heartbreaking and hilarious. Billy has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, yet Venditti doesn't call attention to this diagnosis. Instead, she follows him in a vérité fashion and allows him to speak for himself. And speak he does. A well-read, thoughtful young man, Billy unleashes quotes and references that will leave viewers dazed and amused (his spectrum covers everything from Robert Frost to the band Kiss). Billy's mother realizes that her son is a special case, and she treats him with patience and understanding that is rare and noble. While the entire film is a revelation, it is Billy's courtship of a fellow outsider, Heather, that takes the film to another level completely. Watching these extraordinary characters experience such universal stomach-punching emotions is a wonder to behold. It is here where BILLY THE KID transcends its seemingly breezy, innocent atmosphere and becomes a profound meditation on the raucous emotional tornado that is adolescence. It is impossible to watch BILLY THE KID and not cringe with recognition.
Description by Zeitgeist Films Ltd.:
Jennifer Venditti's first feature documentary tells the story of Billy, an articulate but isolated fifteen-year-old boy trying to figure out life and death, love, and rock and roll. Nerdy but heroic, Billy wanders through the quiet streets of small-town Maine, trying to traverse the frustrating gap between imagination and reality. By turns exhilarating and exciting, and featuring an explosive soundtrack of KISS and a host of hot indie artists, BILLY THE KID captures an intimate view of an expressive and seemingly fearless outsider.
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