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Kids - summary
About the book and the film.
- Telly: On the outside, Telly is the kind of teenage boy any mother might let her daughter go out with. He look "normal" - whatever that means - and can be polite and sincere when it brings him an advantage and suits him. But Telly is an inveterate liar. He would say or do anything to satisfy his addiction to deflower virgins girls ("They are gonna remember you because you were the first"). Sexually unengaged girls present the greatest challenge to him and, as some kind of bonus, are guaranteed disease free. He’s only motivation is lust and he’s propelled by it like some kind of heat-seeking missile. Or as he says at the end of the movie: "Fucking is what I love. Take that away from me and I really got nothin."
- Casper is Telly’s best friend. He’s as much into drugs and alcohol as into sleeping with girls. Unlike Telly, his partners don’t have to come out with their hymens being intact but he’s not concerned about the future or the consequences of his actions. He takes life as it comes, whether that means raping a stoned girls, inhaling dope, or beating someone half to death.
- Jenny: She is a former conquest of Telly, the only boy she ever had (unprotected) sex with. When her HIV test comes back positive, her whole life collapses around her and nothing seems to make sense anymore. Her best friend Ruby has had sex with at least eight guys and yet, tested negative. She now tries to track Telly down to tell him her "news".
The screenplay takes place in Manhattan and starts with Telly locked in embrace with a young girl barely into puberty. Telly tries to seduce her with his sweet-talking, telling her how much he loves her and how she’s the only one. And he’s as successful as he was with several other girls before. Despite his former promises, it hurts when he tears away her virginity with his brutal uncaring thrusts. After the deed Telly races away outside to meet his friend Casper to describe his latest conquest in graphic detail. To him, the self proclaimed "virgin surgeon", virgins are a perfect target to aim at: they’re clean, free from STDs and above all will still remember him after 50 years because he was the first one. It seems to be his way of leaving a legacy. On their way to a friends house they both decide to get some food and alcohol in their own cursing and shoplifting fashion. Arriving at their destination it gets even worse. Sitting around at their friends home, high, in a blaze of smoke, and talking about girls and sex. Meanwhile, somewhere across the town a mirror-group consisting of Jenny’s friends happen to talk about the same topic: sex. Juxtaposing both conversations you can see the diverse and yet similar views of both groups. When the topic of AIDS comes up the boys dismiss it as fiction ("I don’t know any kids with AIDS....It’s like some weird make-believe story that the whole world believes.") while the girls are more worried, particularly Ruby and Jennie who have done a testing. The main shocker of the movie is that Jennie tests positive while she’s only slept once with a boy, Telly - compared to Ruby who’s slept with at least eight guys without catching the HIV. Starting with this revelation everything falls apart in her life and Telly mutates into some kind of walking time bomb, who has to be stopped by all means. Jenny desperately tries to find Telly to tell him her - their news. Meanwhile Telly and Casper by Telly’s house trying to get some money, which his mother won’t give him. So they decide to steal it instead and head off to buy some drugs at the local park. In this scene a gang of Caspers friends beat a hoodlum half to death only because Casper bumped into him with his skateboard. Meanwhile Telly gets fixed on another target he can deflower: Darcy, a cute 13-year-old girl and he uses the same tactic in refuting her fears as he used at the beginning of the film/screenplay. Jenny’s need to find Telly now becomes even more urgent since she could thus, stop another girl from sharing the same fate. After several failed attempts to find Telly she finally finds him at a party. Unfortunately she arrives too late for Darcy who was already seduced by Telly. The screenplay ends with one stunning last question which seems to be typical for today’s generation described in the movie: "Jesus Christ. What’s happened?"
When I first watched the film a was very shocked about the stark views it provides and their truth, blurring the border between reality and fiction with a kind of documentary feeling accompanying the movie. The movie displays a portrait of youths who resort to drugs and sex not as a form of rebellion but to fill the void of their otherwise empty and meaningless lives.
There are a lot of powerful scenes scattered throughout the film which left their impressions on me.
One of them appears while Jenny is on the search for Telly when a cab picks her up. The driver sees her as a quite good-looking girl with a troubled face. As he watches her, silent and axious, he gives her his grandmother’s advice: "If you want to be happy don’t think. Don’t bump into any walls. If you stutter don’t talk." whereas she answers "What if everything falls apart?". The taxi driver is from an era where problems, no matter how dire, can be fixed - or at least be survived, which is excactly her problem.
Another one is the scene where the various views on sex are juxtaposed. What is stiking to me is not that the conversations are different, but that they are somwhow so similar. The girls in Kids are no longer the romantics as they were in the good old times and neither are the boys. In fact they are anything but that. This scene shows us what has changed in the course of time. Of course there are differences too like their idea of a foreplay: while the girls all agree that foreplay with a boy who knows what they like is the best, the boys think foreplay is a good chance for the girls to practice feelatio, which they know the girls can’t get enough of.
The scenes which impressed me most is the one which ends with the final and stunning question, "Jesus Christ. What happened?", which is interestingly enough asked by Casper.
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