Indeed he is dead. But that doesn’t stop Adam (Cameron Monoghan) from talking to his spirit, as Jamie (Noah Silver) helps him run away from his life and shows him some of the wonders of the one hereafter.
Indeed it can be a dark and lonely universe when who you thought you were, who you are now and who you want to be crash into each other so violently. If you’re lucky, some of those pivotal questions that effect/affect the rest of your life find their answers, and some of your demons are laid to rest.
What makes the relationship between the two boys so poignant is that the dearly departed Jamie Marks represents a life, a future, perhaps even a love that Adam could’ve had. And the film effectively shows us why Adam was always afraid to truly be himself, to explore who he may or may not be. The peer pressure, the cruelty he saw at school being a significant part of it.
Quite understandably, most may think “Okay, so Jamie was killed. Why isn’t the movie about finding his killer?” - First of all, I don’t think they had the budget to make a gay version of The Lovely Bones! That and it’s always an uneasy tight-rope walk when splitting a movie into such differing genres. More often than not it just becomes detrimental to the story the writer really wants to tell.
What may also perplex is the fact that such an intelligently made movie literally uses a closet as a link to the closeted Jamie Marks. Well, there is an emphasis on the strength of words, powerful as they are. Growing up hearing terms like “coming out of the closet” or “closeted homosexual”, it would seem only natural that Jamie find himself there, having never had the chance to “leave” it in life.
It has been said, by fuck only knows who, that coming out is as difficult as dealing with death. In the end it makes sense that Jamie was on his own journey. As Adam comes to discover who he really is, Jamie struggles to reconcile his inevitable place in the afterlife.
Needless to say, this movie is relentlessly gloomy. Most scenes in which Jamie appears see him in shadow, so half the time you find it hard not to mistake the poor soul for a deceased Harry Potter. With that moppy hair, thick eyebrows and round spectacles the better-looking Noah Silver is a dead ringer.
Liv Tyler and Judy Greer also make up the cast. Their roles feel insignificant and limited, and in the grand scheme of things that’s how they should be. But that doesn’t stop you wanting more from them.
It’s not what you might expect. It’s tender without being mushy. It’s even gloomy without being too dark. It is also an honest coming-of-age tale that can relate to more of us than we are brave enough to admit.