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Miles (2018)




Synopsis

A kid from middle America, desperate to move to Chicago, joins the volleyball team to get a scholarship - the only catch is that his high school only has a girls team.

Review

Miles is gay. It's not made totally clear if he's out or not. Well, not completely. And he wants to leave his back water small town, and move to the big city. But his reprehensible father is not only having an affair with someone much nearer his son's age than his own, but he has spent Miles' college fund on her, and then just drops dead. I was kinda rooting for Death in that scene. Miles is desperate to move to Chicago. He finds a way. Join a volleyball team, and score a scholarship to a college. But the only problem lies in that the only volleyball team he can join - the only one that exists - is a girls team.

This film is about the screenplay and performances. This is a drama with a touch of comedy. What struck me was how well all of it was handled. Miles is gay, sure, but at no time is really a plot point. Does his mother know? It's not tackled. Did his father? Do his peers? Miles lives in a little bubble that he doesn't leave, mostly through fear. Miles wants to leave his home town. He says it's because he is afraid of being stuck there "like everyone else" - he doesn't want to be a loser in a small town.

Well that's what he says.

Reading between the lines, I assumed almost from the start that he wanted to leave the small town because he knew that he would never be accepted there.

But I also loved how the film wasn't about that. It's barely mentioned outside of normal interaction. It's about whether a boy can play on a high school girls volleyball team.


 

Leading the cast is relative newcomer Tim Boardman as Miles, and he carries the film surprisingly well, especially when he is leading a film full of established character actors. Molly Shannon (SNL) plays Miles mother, Pam, Stephen Root (Get Out) his father. His principle is played by Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager) and Superintendent by Paul Reiser (Aliens). Supporting them all are the likes of the Excellent Missi Pyle and Yeardley Smith. Boardman has a lot to live up to, and does it well.

Writing and direction duties come from Nathan Adloff, who while doesn't have much on his roster yet, clearly has big things to come.

Miles is a touching coming of age tale, that treads different boards to its siblings. It's unusual for a film tackling such potentially sensitive subjects to handle them so gently, and so realistically.

It's thoroughly thought provoking, and gently funny, it's got acting chops as far as the eye can see, and it's an absolutely wonderful moral tale.

Must see, and out now on DVD.





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