Two facts to ponder: Crutch is "based on a true story," and Rob Moretti is not only one of the lead actors but also the writer, director, editor, and producer. The result: Crutch comes across as an extremely personal exorcism of Moretti's suburban gothic adolescence, for better and for worse. Like the scribblings in a teenager's diary, the film vacillates between insight and exaggeration.

Moretti has quite a story to tell. Sixteen-year-old David (Eben Gordon), the surrogate for Moretti, lives in a broken home with his rapidly deteriorating alcoholic mother (Juanita Walsh) and two sullen siblings. Dad (James Earley) lives across town with another woman, and the family's method for coping with all this drama is to maintain a chilly silence. When not scribbling frantically in his well-worn diary, David finds distractions with his pretty girlfriend Julia (Jennifer Laine Williams). Together, they sign up for an acting class led by new-in-town thirtysomething Kenny (Moretti) and his sidekick Maryann (Jennifer J. Katz). Within minutes, Kenny starts a not-so-subtle dance of seduction with David, who is too distracted by his family problems to pick up on the signals... at first.

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