Jenny (Juliana De Stefano) is in her last year of high school in Texas living with her father Jack (Brian Thornton), mother (Mia Ruiz) and younger brother. Jenny is squeaky clean, perhaps a bit too squeaky clean to be a follower of a feminist rock band Riot Grrrl and drop her first tab of acid. She starts to define her identity and future and locks her horns with her bull in the China shop father. Was it the acid or simply maturing in a confused environment?
When I think of three teen rebellion movies “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986) “Breakfast Club” (1985) and “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) teens in rebellion were all about “me”. In “Acid Test” there is a strong element of all about me exhibited by Jenny but we receive a closer dive in on the parent’s me perspective. Both Mom and Dad love Jenny but they have their own plans and ambitions for Jenny that clash with her views and desires. Both the parents and Jenny are selfish for all the good reasons but in life (and politics) compromise must override “me”. And compromise they do with Jenny summing it up by saying she feels like she has experienced both defeat and triumph wrapped up into one. What a precise way of summing up the film. DeStefano shines as well as mom Mia Ruiz and although given a small part as Jenny’s English teacher Sara Gaston brims with sincerity and support.
Be patient with the film as it appears to be a “been there seen that” teen rebellion movie for 58 minutes and then it roars with relevance and pointed if not unique observations about me vs. me. A notch above most teen rebellion movies for authenticity and relevance.
Written and directed by Jenny Waldo.
“Acid Test” screens on 18June at 21:15 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.
You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/708340166
P.S. Was it the acid?
RKS Film Rating 88/100.