All is tranquil at the beginning, before the story evolves into a gentle, aching coming-of-age story for 10-year-old Jonah (Evan Rosado), who is learning that you have to take moments of joy wherever you can find them. Jonah, an introspective boy who keeps a secret diary that’s mostly pictures, lives with his two brothers (barely older than he is) and their parents in upstate New York ca. the early ’90s. Ma (Sheila Vand) and Pops (Raul Castillo) were high school sweethearts who got married too young, and their loving but tumultuous relationship has grown untenable. Pops moves out; Ma spirals into depression; the boys, enjoying an otherwise carefree summer, are neglected. In the midst of this, they meet a slightly older boy, Dustin (Giovanni Pacciarelli), the grandson of a neighbor, with whom Jonah becomes smitten (not that he understands his feelings). First-time feature director Jeremiah Zagar, adapting Justin Torres’ semi-autobiographical novel, handles sensitive subjects with discretion and grace, while Nick Zammuto’s moody electronica score and Mark Samsonovich’s simple animations contribute to the idyllic tone of this lovely, heartbreaking little gem about queer awakenings and misspent youth.
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
Producer: Jeremy Yaches, Christina King, Paul Mezey, Andrew Goldman, Philipp Engelhorn and Michael Raisler
Cast: Raul Castillo, Sheila Vand, Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian and Josiah Gabriel