Firstborn | Chicago Reader


Teenager Christopher Collet saves his divorced mom (Teri Garr) from the clutches of a drug-dealing boyfriend (Peter Weller). There's some pretty delirious oedipal stuff going on not too far beneath the surface of this suburban melodrama, but director Michael Apted is so literal-minded that he loses it beneath a mountain of dry sociological detail and pointlessly extended exposition. Though the subject might seem quintessentially 80s, the dramatization is strictly 50s: this is the James Dean-Sal Mineo misunderstood teenager, trying his best to be grown-up despite the adults who treat him like a kid. It might have worked if Apted were as adept at creating an emotional atmosphere as he is in his portraiture of the suburban milieu, but too many unshaped scenes and redundant dialogue passages take their toll.

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