CCFF 2018: A Kid Like Jake

Claire Danes as Alex Wheeler, Leo James Davis as Jake Wheeler, and Jim Parsons as Greg Wheeler in Silas Howard’s A KID LIKE JAKE. Photo by JON PACK. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.

A Kid Like Jake is a film that ought to add to the conversation about gender identity among young children.

The roots of A Kid Like Jake as a play becomes clear in the final act of the film through the performances of Claire Danes and Jim Parsons in particular.  Through Silas Howard’s direction and the camera framing of cinematographer Steven Capitano Calitri, the performances come off as theatrical rather than cinematic.

Danes and Parsons star as Alex and Greg Wheeler.  They are the parents of Jake Wheeler (Leo James Davis), a four-year-old child who is “gender-expansive” as preschool director Judith Lawson (Octavia Spencer) calls it.  With Greg having a background in psychology, Jake’s issues are something in which he can handle.  It’s Alex who is having the toughest of time.  One could say that Alex is standing in for all of those parents who are in denial of having a transgender/gender-non-conforming child.

I’ll have more to say about A Kid Like Jake in a few weeks when the film is released into theaters.  Being transgender, a capsule review is not enough to do this film the proper justice after seeing it on Wednesday evening.  That said, having a transgender filmmaker like Silas Howard at the helm of this project is important in making sure that it gets done the right way.

DIRECTOR:  Silas Howard
SCREENWRITER:  Daniel Pearle
CAST:  Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, Priyanka Chopra, Amy Landecker, Leo James Davis, with Ann Dowd and Octavia Spencer

An official selection of the 2018 Chicago Critics Film Festival, A Kid Like Jake premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres program.  IFC Films will release A Kid Like Jake in theaters on June 1, 2018 followed by a VOD release on June 8, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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