Review: Hide Your Smiling Faces (2013)

Hide Your Smiling Faces

New Jersey-born writer and director Daniel Patrick Carbone has crafted a stunning, mostly dialogue-free directorial debut in Hide Your Smiling Faces. Eric (Nathan Varnson) and Tommy (Ryan Jones) spend their summer running riot: swimming and wrestling in their rural community. But when a dead body is found down by the river, the mood changes, and the boys are forced to confront the fragility of life. Touching on a raft of adult themes (from mortality to lost innocence), Hide Your Smiling Faces is a touch darker than your average coming-of-age drama about adolescence. It may be light on dramatics, but it’s no less potent – perhaps more so, actually. Carbone has constructed a film that stresses the true inner and outer turmoil that comes hand-in-hand with aging, solely through the point of view of those experiencing it. It’s an approach that, coupled with Nick Bentgen’s beautiful, yet haunting cinematography (uneasy, evocative images are a strong feature here) and a pair of stunning performances from Varnson Jones, makes Hide Your Smiling Faces a compelling, detailed watch.

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