Technology is dangerous, according to a strict Mormon family, the focal point for first time writer/director Rebecca Thomas’s Electrick Children. The only form of technology for these rural Utah residents – living in isolation on their own ranch – is a very old, portable tape deck, used for the recording of testimonies. But when free-spirited fifteen year old Rachel sneaks out of her room one night to go have a closer look at this magical piece of technology, she finds an illicit tape of rock music, hidden by her mother who is still holding on to a secret past.
Whilst listening to a cover of Blondies ‘Hanging On A Telephone,’ Rachel has a religious experience, and three months later this virgin Mormon finds herself pregnant. Her brother, Mr Will is blamed and is told he has to leave the compound in the morning, whilst Rachel is told a suitable marriage is being arranged.
That night however, Rachel and Mr Will escape to the bright lights of Vegas. For Rachel it’s a journey to find the father of her child, for Mr Will, it’s all about getting Rachel to record a testimony that will prove his innocence.
Falling in with a group of wanna be rockstars/skaters the two sheltered Mormon kids soon find that there is more to life that a rigid, male-centric religion.
Electrick Children is on the one hand, a whimsical fairy tale that at times feels like you’re viewing life through the lens of too many party pills, and on the other is a harsh look at the dangers of a secluded, strict religious upbringing.
The film sometimes strays a little but wraps up nicely – perhaps a little too nicely – in the end. Electrick Children’s driving force is Julia Garner who mesmerises with her role of Rachel and more than helps the film through some of it’s rockier moments.
M Offensive language, sexual references and drug use.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read