Movie Review: Electrick Children (2012)

Pregnant by music?

After Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), another take on the alternative reality of spiritual outcasts is presented by first-time director Rebecca Thomas in Electrick Children (2012).

15-year old Rachel (Julia Garner), living in a fundamentalist Mormon community in Utah, breaks the rules set by her pastor father (Billy Zane) and listens to the ‘forbidden blue tape’. The song on it is a cover of one of the Blondie’s hits and seems to the young girl something enchanting, magical even. Magical enough to get her pregnant. That’s right – Rachel is convinced that the song caused an immaculate conception and that she was chosen by God like a Virgin Mary to give birth to a new prophet.

The parents hardly believe in the role of the ‘God’s Vessel: The Record Deck’ and send away Rachel’s cousin, accusing him of rape. When the girl finds out that, in addition to the false accusation, she is also to be married to the boy from her community the following day, she steals her mother’s car and drives to LA, in search of the father of her baby – the man who sang the forbidden song. Her cousin, hiding in the back of the car, becomes her only companion. She goes where she hears the music and finds a group of skateboarders, with charming Cody (Rory Culkin) among them. Silly and naïve, doe-eyed Rachel is nevertheless surprisingly resolute and finds her place among the teenage LA misfits. Here, the interesting story gets a little out of hand, and becomes a series of totally unrealistic ‘lucky coincidences’ leading to the ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ ending.

Filled with pretty images, the movie is still a bit stale and slow, although the actors are interesting, Rory Culkin in particular, as a lost, yet immensely good kid, who is willing to help Rachel (there is something about them Culkins). A film about the inability to fight your destiny, with a good start, but poorly executed at the end.

96 mins.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Electrick Children (2012)”

  1. She doesn’t steal the car keys, you missed a key point in the plot. Did you not see the film, or the exchange between mother and daughter via eye contact when the keys are actually taken?

    Rather than being about the inability to fight your destiny (that’s a bit too vague, if you ask me), the film deals a lot with choosing to embrace doubt and uncertainty rather than clinging to pre-established rituals in a cultural vacuum.

    Also, you have a typo in your last paragraph.


  2. Dear SP57 (care to give us your name?),

    Thank you for your comment – before Agata replies, may I take this opportunity to assure you that Agata obviously did see the film. This was a rather cheap shot, if you ask me. And I will ensure that the typo is corrected, thank you for alerting us.

  3. Dear SP57,

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

    I did see the film and I didn’t miss the exchange between the mother and daughter, though I would hardly call it a key point in the plot. Despite the initial (just initial) quiet acquiescence from her mother, Rachel still takes the keys she shouldn’t take and runs away with them. I call that stealing. If your friend sees that you are stealing something from a shop, does it make you less of a thief? You are correct, perhaps I should have said that she steals her family’s car.

    As for your latter comment, of course your description is correct, however my comment about destiny refers to the returning symbolic red Mustang, the unavoidable (somehow) meeting between Rachel and her father, the fact that she basically fell in love with someone very similar to her mother’s big love. You may notice that she lives her mother’s life, except that she finishes what her mother couldn’t and chooses ‘freedom’.

    Thanks for pointing out the typo.


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