I grew up going to church and attending youth groups. The Wise Kids revolves around that setting and then some with the family and personal factors. I was floored within minutes and then left in hopeful tears at the end. This was my first time watching something directed by Stephen Cone and it certainly won’t be the last. The Wise Kids is one of Cone’s many projects that discusses homosexuality and faith.
Brea, Tim, and Laura are three best friends from South Carolina who attend church together and talk about life with one another. They’re all seniors, about to go to college but each of them has some stuff to figure out before summer ends. Brea questions the very teachings in the Bible, Tim struggles with his sexual identity, and Laura stands firm in her Christian beliefs while questioning her best friend’s personal decisions. This creates an interesting dynamic amongst the three friends and it’s thrown into an even bigger challenge when two of them are accepted to the same school.
Stephen Cone didn’t just write and direct this gem, but he also played Austin, the church musical director who is processing his sexual identity as well. Cone and Tyler Ross have some scenes together that shake their characters up and push them towards their true selves. I was blown away by the massive questions that are asked throughout this film. They are questions that I have personally had and that’s special when a film connects to you in that way. I love films that explore sexual identity and Christianity at the same time like Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. The Wise Kids is in that realm and a must-see if you like that kind of a story.