Terri

Terri is a film by Azazel Jacobs about an obese kid named Terri.  Terri, played by Jacob Wysocki is a kid who is very reserved and good hearted.  Terri isn’t liked or treated well by any of his classmates but he gets by in life because he has a supportive and loving uncle.  Unfortunately for Terri that uncle suffers from a version of Alzheimer’s.  Terri pulls double duty being a caretaker for his uncle as well as trying to be an average student.  Terri wears pajamas because of the amount of work he ends up doing from both classes and his dedication to his family.  Terri’s behavior of sticking to being invisible because he works so much draws the attention of the vice principal, Mr. Fitzgerald.  Terri and the vice principal form a relationship as friends so that the vice principal can make sure Terri isn’t destroyed by the pressures of high school.

Audiences may not get this film.  I think the point of Terri is not to focus how much or how little the protagonist evolves throughout the film but to look at how Terri as a character experiences life.  Terri, as a film is really engrossing mainly because lead Jacob Wysocki does such an impressive job at conveying Terri’s understanding of the world.  I love the fact that when Terri understands something he just states the obvious.  There is a scene in the film that particularly sticks out to me where Terri is having a meeting with Mr. Fitzgerald after informing him that he put mice killed by mouse traps in the woods.  Mr. Fitzgerald shows Terri a picture of himself at a younger age with what appears to either be acne or self-induced injuries on his back.  Mr. Fitzgerald informs Terri that he moved past those bad experiences of his teenage years and made something better of himself.  The vice principal claims that he thought of himself as a monster during his teenage years.  Terri responds with: “Mr Fitzgerald, you were treated like a monster because you were a monster, I’m treated like a monster because that’s what I am to them.”  Terri as a person emphasizes how people perceive him not who he actually is as a person.  Terri as a film doesn’t work because the audience feels sympathy for the protagonist’s life struggles, the film works because it talks about how different human beings function in life.  The predicaments Terri deals with in the film are not things an ordinary teenager wouldn’t deal with on a day to day basis. 

The director Azazel Jacobs tells the story from an all encompassing point of view.  The film doesn’t just focus on how Terri deals with life, it also discusses how life impacts other people and how they react to that.  Terri may be the central character of the film around which the story rotates but secondary characters also face their own unique challenges in life and it is that which makes the film an enjoyable experience.

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