Genuinely kind but devoid of treacle, Azazel Jacob’s “Terri” describes like a relatively conventional coming of age/teen misfit story but it’s elevated and made something else by the talents of its unconventional director.
Terri (Jacob Wysocki, in his film debut), is not suddenly, miraculously accepted by classmates who have either ignored him (his obesity making him invisible), or been loudly grossed out by his size. His new friends are more damaged than he is–the pretty blonde, who in her desperate bid for affection, sexually trangresses in the home ec classroom, and the hostile horny skinny boy, perpetually pulling strands of hair out of his shaggy head. He doesn’t undergo a physical metamorphosis–there’s no weight loss/exercise montage (or any correction of Terri’s perpetually dreadful/comfy wardrobe: there’s no substitution of even a t-shirt for the pajamas he always inhabits).
But with the help of the compassionate, if slightly clumsy, assistant principal (John C. Reilly), who takes an interest in him, Terri awakens to a sense of possibility for his life.
“Terri” opens on Friday, July 1, in New York and Los Angeles.