Parallel Sons Movie Review

Deep in New York's Adirondack mountains is a tiny town that no one ever seems to leave. It's here that writer/director John G. Young sets Parallel Sons, a downer about repression, impossible love, small-mindedness, and fear. No one wants to get out of town more than 20-year-old Seth (Gabriel Mann), a somewhat aimless young man who for some reason has taken on the trappings of black urban life, from the graffiti in his bedroom to the carefully cultivated strawberry blonde dreadlocks atop his head. Seth has never been to New York, but he longs to attend NYU. Fat chance, says his mean widowed dad, who considers financial aid to be welfare.

Seth passes his time working down at the diner, and it's there that he's held up by an escaped con with the unlikely name of Knowledge Johnson (Laurence Mason). Knowledge is suffering from a gunshot wound, and after he faints, Seth spirits him off to a hidden family cabin to nurse him back to health. You get the impression that Knowledge is the first real black person Seth has ever seen.

At the same time, Seth is fending off the advances of Kristen (Heather Gottlieb), who doesn't seem to notice that all the magazine photos that decorate Seth's bedroom are of good-looking black men, not women. True love is blind. Seth kicks her out of bed -- literally -- and focuses all his energy on Knowledge.

Over time, the two develop a bond and share their feelings of isolation. No one understands you? Wow, no one understands me, either. Let's be friends and understand each other! But it won't be easy to hide a wanted black man in what may be the whitest small town in America. Once Kristen figures out what's going on, her jealousy and incipient psychosis puts Seth and Knowledge, who are quickly falling hard for each other, into serious danger.

Parallel Sons is the unlikeliest of love stories, and it races along toward an inevitable tragedy that's positively Shakespearian in its misery. You want these two good-hearted strivers to run away together, to make it to the Canadian border and build a new life in Toronto or something, but Young is realistic enough to know that such an ending wouldn't work in a movie that's very nicely grounded in its scenic, if oppressive, environs. Mann and Mason do what they can with the unusual relationship they must portray, and they're touching at times, but it becomes impossible to excuse the many bad decisions the young friends make on their doomed path to freedom.

Perpendicular daughters?

Cast & Crew

Director : John G. Young


Comments

Parallel Sons Rating

" Weak "

Rating: NR, 1995

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Usual Suspects: Breaking Bad, True Detective, GoT, Mad Men, to Duke it Out For Emmy Wins

A superb year for television has seen the Emmy nominations...

Usual Suspects: Breaking Bad, True Detective, GoT, Mad Men, to Duke it Out For Emmy Wins

5 Reasons Why A New Harry Potter Film Is Unlikely

J.K. Rowling really stirred up the cauldron of excitement when she published a new...

Jk Rowling - 5 Reasons Why A New Harry Potter Film Is Unlikely

'Boyhood' Wows Critics & Promises To Change Cinema But Will Audiences Be As Impressed?

Boyhood is a coming-of-age film which literally follows its cast as they...

'Boyhood' Wows Critics & Promises To Change Cinema But Will Audiences Be As Impressed?

Game Of Thrones: George R.R. Martin Hits Back At Death & Health Speculators With F-Bomb

George R.R. Martin is 65. Let's just repeat that - only 65 years old. And, so...

Game Of Thrones: George R.R. Martin Hits Back At Death & Health Speculators With F-Bomb

Could Meghan McCain Join Whoopi Goldberg And Rosie O'Donnell On "The View"?

The View may have found its new Republican panelist. Following the exit...

Could Meghan McCain Join Whoopi Goldberg And Rosie O'Donnell On
Advertisement

5 of The Best Animated Matriarchs (Animatriachs?) Now That Marge Simpson is The Face of MAC Make-Up

Marge Simpson has finally got her moment. After years of living as...

5 of The Best Animated Matriarchs (Animatriachs?) Now That Marge Simpson is The Face of MAC Make-Up

Producer William Orbit Attempts To Defend Britney Spears' Pre Auto-Tune 'Alien'

There's a reason why everything Britney Spears has ever done has been...

Producer William Orbit Attempts To Defend Britney Spears' Pre Auto-Tune 'Alien'


More recommendations

Advertisement