The Mudge Boy | Chicago Reader

The Mudge Boy

Traumatized by the recent death of his mother, a maladjusted 14-year-old farm boy (Emile Hirsch) undergoes a brutal initiation into “masculinity” at the hands of other local teenage boys, some of whom displace their own uncertainties about sex and gender onto him. Michael Burke wrote and directed this painfully well-observed and disturbing first feature (2003); it's especially good in its handling of actors and its sharp feeling for characters who can't even describe their own problems, much less analyze them. 94 min.

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