What is interesting about the “coming of age” theme is how it never seems to go out of style. We are often looking for a release, whether that means watching someone share our struggle or watching someone go through something even worse. Goats takes its audience down that very path, bringing forward new ideas in the process. How long does it take to come of age? When do we come of age? I am going to say right now this film does not answer these questions. Rather, it does its job by simply bringing up these subjects.
Christopher Neil’s Goats displays the journey of Ellis (Graham Phillips) as he leaves his home in Arizona for a prep school on the East Coast. Very shortly into the film it becomes blatantly obvious how detached Ellis is from his parents. His father is not even in the picture and his mother is off in her own world unaware of all others. Even Goat Man (David Duchovny), the closest thing Ellis has to a father-figure, has few of the answers he needs to grow. Ellis is alone in his quest for answers, attempting to figure out right from wrong and selflessness from selfishness.
All the characters in the film are trying to do what they think is right. However, thought and reality can often be two entirely separate actualities. Point A would be Ellis’s mother and Point B his father. But if I took anything from this film, mind you I took more than one thing away from this film, it would be the reenforcement that life has a fairly large learning curve to it. I know, huge revelation, but I think it is easy to step outside of reality and expect the impossible.
So, how long does it take to come of age? There is a good reason why this is brought up. Ellis does not fully transform by the end of the film, meaning he is only at the beginning of his journey. At least under my interpretation. You might watch this film and think something totally different. Where I see beginning you might see end. The beauty of this theme and this film lies in the viewpoint of the individual. However, if you do happen to agree with my view then you would agree that Ellis has a long way to go. It seems this film showed him gathering all the pieces, but now he must fit them together.
Overall this film was fun to watch. There may be moments when it feels a bit unfocused, but they soon pass. The acting is great and the intentions are sound. If you have a chance give Goats a viewing, it deserves as much.
Goats (2012) directed by Christopher Neil
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