Terri (Jacob Wysocki) is 15, overweight, lives with his senile uncle (Creed Bratton) and wears pyjamas to school. Naturally he isn’t the most popular of people but manages to make connections through his unorthodox vice-principal (John C. Reilly), fellow social outcast Chad (Bridger Zadina) and former popular girl Heather (Olivia Crocicchia). There’s no big plot, just Terri’s clumsy forays into friendship and a slight important in his levels of happiness.
From the opening shot of Terri sitting alone in the bath to his depressing arrival in school I was reminded of the aesthetics of films like Kes or the opening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, gritty home life made all the grittier through being shot on film. Despite a (presumably) contemporary setting the slightly grainy footage gave Terri a timeless quality, differing it from other US indie fare which tends towards crisper digital images.
Terri is a charming film, funny throughout and almost as touching as it wants to be. Jacob Wysocki ably leads the film while John C. Reilly (again) provides an energetic performance that holds the film together. With no grand plot the film has nowhere to go and so slows down towards the end before stumbling at the finish line. Despite Terri’s troubling circumstances he never indulges in his own misfortune, this attitude makes the film entirely watchable and forgivable for any flaws.
Terri screens at the London Film Festival today at 12:15 and on Saturday 22nd October at 14:15 and tickets are available for both screenings.