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The Kid Is Alright

The Kid Is Alright

Like its protagonist, Jennifer Venditti’s acclaimed documentary Billy the Kid is both pretty hard to dislike and difficult to parse. It’s already scooped up awards at Edinburgh, Los Angeles, and South by Southwest film festivals, and it’s easy to see why: this compelling, ingratiating portrait of some days in the life of a charming and troubled fifteen-year-old New Englander, with its canny intimacy and sharp editing, manages to be up-close-and-personal as well as safely discreet. Venditti, following around the not-quite-outcast teenager Billy vérité-style, is inoffensive in her intrusion, yet also manages to make the boy a compelling screen presence. What the film lacks in painful revelation it makes up for in the way it avoids exploiting its subject; and, refreshingly, in these days when most documentaries seem couched in meta-commentary, the film never falls back on the crutch of having the filmmaker’s ethical dilemma as a pivotal plot thrust.Click here to read Michael Koresky’s review of Billy the Kid.

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