Poignant, unexpected and quietly profound, Azazel Jacobs’s “Terri” premiered in Sundance last night and marked a significant aesthetic evolution for the director, who was previously at Sundance with “Momma’s Man.” Following its titular character – an overweight teenager played by remarkable newcomer Jacob Wysocki – the film is considerably more conventional than Jacobs’s previous work. As Terri struggles at home (his primary caregiver is a pill-popping uncle) and at school (kids taunt him with names like “double d”), his life takes a turn when assistant principal Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly, great as always) decides to take him on. Though the basic plot mirrors many mainstream student-teacher coming of age dramas, in Jacobs’s hands “Terri” becomes a strange and subtle sibling to that genre (the grand finale is wonderfully bizarre and affecting). Definitely my favourite film of Sundance ’11 thus far.
Check out (low quality, sorry) video from the Q&A: