Rachel (Julia Garner) lives with her family in a religious, technology-abstaining community, headed by her father Paul (Billy Zane). One day, a tape recorder is introduced into their world and Rachel is fascinated by that technology. She sneaks out to listen to a music tape at night and is enraptured by that song. A short while later, Rachel appears to be pregnant. She believes that the voice of the tape recorder is the father and wants to find him, while her parents suspect her brother, Mr Will (Liam Aiken) instead. But Rachel decides that she has to find the guy the voice – and her child – belongs to and heads out into the real world.
Electrick Children was a really sweet film with an excellent cast and a nice soundtrack. The topic could have been easily turned into a very heavy thing, but instead Thomas keeps it light without shrinking from the hard questions.
The story leaves much room for interpretation. Was it really immaculate conception via tape recorder? Or was it incest/rape? Realistically speaking it pretty much has to be the latter, of course, and there are several pointers in that direction (why would Mr Will be suspected in the first place, if the suspicion wasn’t somehow in the air already? And why would Rachel’s mom help her leave if she didn’t think that Mr Will – who was being kicked out anyway – wasn’t the culprit?) but despite the absence of anything magical in the story, the atmosphere is such that I found myself not only thinking the immaculate conception version a valid possibility, but actually leaning towards it.
And that’s because Thomas manages to tell this story with so much heart, romanticism and a really nice sense of humor.
And Julia Garner is the perfect lead for that. She has no problem with balancing the innocence and the emotional depth of the character and making every step and decision she takes utterly believable. But also Rory Culkin, Liam Aiken and Cynthia Wartros are really great. And Billy Zane surprised the hell out of me in that role. (Also, he’s looking good. Like, actually hot. That suprised me, too.)
In any case, Electrick Children is an extremely enjoyable and touching film that I can only recommend.
Summarising: I liked it a lot.