Film Review: Teenage Kicks

Cinematography by Bonnie Elliott.

Reviewed by James Cunningham at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival.

In this powerful new queer Australian drama, a seventeen-year-old boy navigates the many minefields of adolescence and sexuality, in the wake of a family tragedy.

Miklós (Miles Szanto) is at the age when everything feels high-stakes. He is coming to terms with his own sexuality, and when his best friend Dan (Daniel Webber) reveals that he has a new girlfriend, this puts an end to their plans to run away together. 

Lensed by the uber-talented Bonnie Elliott (My Tehran For Sale, Spear) Teenage Kicks beautifully captures this whirlwind period in Miklós’ life, dealing with themes of guilt, friendship, cultural and familial loyalty, and burgeoning sexuality.

The stellar Aussie cast includes Charlotte Best (Puberty Blues), Shari Sebbens (The Sapphires), Miles Szanto (Drowning) and Daniel Webber (Home & Away). 

Filmed in the streets of Sydney’s inner west, Elliott masterfully takes her audience on journey through the minefield of adolescence from the perspective of a teen, haunted by the death of his older brother. Teenage Kicks is a truly excellent, albeit less-than-light-hearted arthouse film about duty, and the craving for freedom.

James Cunningham is the Editor of Australian Cinematographer Magazine.

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