Bundled up in sweats on the couch and with no one to cuddle, I powered up the iPad and turned to my one true friend—Netflix. With thousands of options to choose from, I searched for a movie that was off the beaten path and out of the norm to fit my mood. I came upon “Electrick Children”—a refreshing and captivating movie.
The synopsis describes a Mormon girl who becomes impregnated by rock music. Expecting something comedic and unordinary, I was rewarded with the unordinary, but came across symbolism and commentary on fundamental cultural issues rather than humor.
The drama’s main character, Rachel, played by Julia Garner, is a Mormon who finds herself pregnant at age 15 in a Mormon colony that, obviously, considers premarital sex a sin. Naïve and confused, Rachel determines that her pregnancy is a result of her rebellious act of listening to a rock tape. In her mind, it is the catchy song “Hanging on the Telephone” that left her with child.
When the colony discovers her condition, Rachel’s brother Will (Liam Aiken) is charged with being the father. With Rachel facing an arranged marriage and Will sentenced to exile, the two youngsters find themselves running away and lost in the city of Las Vegas, Nev.
The remaining half of the movie features Rachel and Will in culture shock. The theme of a small town girl in a big city is quite overdone in movies such as “Mean Girls” and “Coming to America, ” but “Electrick Children” puts a twist to the seen-before plot by adding in aspects of coming-of-age tales and the questioning of cultural norms.
Rachel and Will meet rebellious teen Clyde (Rory Culkin) in the big city, who shows the siblings another side of life. Given heart-shaped sunglasses by Clyde and still sporting traditional Mormon garb, Rachel and Will’s appearances physically symbolize the clash between values experienced upon escaping the colony’s suffocating moral grip.
As the spirit of God is said to have impregnated the Virgin Mary, Rachel believes the voice on the rock tape impregnated her. Rachel is convinced that she experienced an immaculate conception—possibly presenting the movie as a modern day Bible story.
Cultural traditions are challenged as Rachel slowly loses her façade of innocence and inexperience. Rachel faces instances of sexism and oppression, and is called “damaged goods” for the capability of producing children. In addition, the significance and importance placed upon marriage and individual happiness are tested.
“Electrick Children” is full of symbolism that I invite you to decipher for yourself, as it is a movie that induces thought. Plus, it’s an unusual film that incorporates solid acting and a moving plot.
On a cold winter night when it is once again just you and Netflix, I recommend you scroll to “Electrick Children” and press play for an unconventional and provoking watch.