Ryan Jones

HYSF Still 1

Daniel Patrick Carbone’s Hide Your Smiling Faces can be compared to Stand By Me in several ways. In both films, boys find the dead body of another boy in the woods. There are also meaningful interactions with woodland creatures and nature, dysfunctional parents, and the tethering bond of brotherhood, but despite the parallels between the two films, Hide Your Smiling Faces is its own entity. It is deeply meditative about life and death, about the relationship between humans and nature. And all of these meditations, very intriguingly so, come from two young boys. Perhaps the most admirable thing about the film is that it never falls victim to what’s expected. It veers away from typical coming-of-age tropes and thinks beyond the norm. Brothers Eric (Nathan Varnson) and Tommy (Ryan Jones) live with their loving parents in rural New Jersey. Eric is in the budding stages of being a teenager and is appropriately surly to the younger Tommy, shooing him out of his room and keeping his distance. Though their dynamic changes when Eric and his friends discover Tommy’s friend, Ian, lying dead in the forest, apparently after having fallen off the bridge above. Ian’s father (Colm O’Leary) is a single parent and an outwardly violent person, so he immediately arouses suspicion from the boys, especially since he always threatens to shoot their dog, Daisy. As Tommy mourns Ian’s loss and as Eric experiences a rift with a suicidal friend, the two brothers come together as they act out against Ian’s […]

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