Oh do I have a movie for you guys this week!!!
White Frog (2012) Dir. Quintin Lee Writ: Ellie Wen, Fabienne Wen Stars: Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum Jr., Joan Chen Not Rated (I'd say PG-13) 93 mins. Drama IMDB 6.9
Here we have a perfect example of the legendary Netflix Hidden Gems.
I cannot stress enough how, for a movie I had never heard of in my life before stumbling across it on Netflix, THIS MOVIE WAS SO AMAZING!
White Frog, which has a really strange title until you get to the ‘OH so THAT’S where it came from!” moment and then it is so profound, follows Nick Young (Booboo Stewart), a 15 year old boy with Aspergers, after the tragic death of his older brother Chaz (Harry Shum Jr.) throws his whole life out of whack. With parents who don’t understand him after leaving Chaz to deal with him his whole life, no friends now since Chaz was his only friend, and nobody but his therapist Dr. King (Amy Hill) to help him through his brother’s death, Nick is in a very bad place when he is befriended by one of his brother’s friends, Doug (Tyler Posey). After Doug pretty much forces his brother’s other friends, Randy (Gregg Sulkin), Ajit (Manish Dayal), and Cameron (Justin Martin) to accept Nick into their group, Nick starts to learn more about who his brother really was outside of the strict control of their parents.
I know how cheezy it sounds to say ‘this is such a heartwarming, uplifting movie’, but there is no other way to describe it. It’s tragic, and heartbreaking, and infuriating, and yet at the end of all of it, after all of the pain that comes with watching this poor boy try to cope with losing his big brother and best friend, after the rage you feel at how horrible Nick’s parents can be, there is still this amazing sense of hope and wonder at how, even in the darkest times, there’s always some source of light. You get to see a group of people in pain after something so horrible as the tragic, untimely death of a child (high school age kids are still children) rise above their loss and their anguish and start to celebrate the good that their loved one did and the life that they have found together now.
The performances are all really good. Even the characters you hate (mainly Nick’s dad, Jesus Christ) are all so dynamic and you understand why they are how they are. Even Randy, as much as you want to hate him, when you learn his depths and why he is so mean to start out with, it’s just breathtakingly well developed.
I cried at least 9 or 10 times in the duration of this film. I cry easy, but THAT is extreme even for me. And yet, it is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve watched in a long time. I cried a little bit just writing this review in the paragraph two above this just thinking about something so earthshakingly traumatic as that poor boy losing his brother. THAT is how much this film touched me.
White Frog is so tragically underrated, in my opinion, that I can only hope that more people read this review and go watch it in spite of the lackluster reviews it has in various places. It’s a don’t-miss movie and it’s streaming on Netflix right now, so go see!
My Rating: 8/10