Demi Moore not included.
About Scout (2015): 5 out of 10: is a heartwarming and captivating drama released in 2015, following the journey of a rebellious Goth girl named Scout (India Ennenga). Struggling with her dysfunctional family and feeling disconnected from the world, she embarks on a road trip across Texas in search of her missing little sister, Lulu (Onata Aprile).
Along the way, Scout meets Sam (James Frecheville), a suicidal young man grappling with his own demons. Despite their initial differences, the two form an unlikely bond as they navigate the challenges and obstacles that lie ahead. Together, they experience moments of self-discovery, friendship, and healing, which ultimately help them confront their past traumas and reevaluate their lives.
As Scout and Sam journey across Texas, they encounter a colorful cast of characters who assist and challenge them on their quest. Their adventure forces them to confront the issues that have driven them apart from their families and society, ultimately leading to newfound understanding and acceptance.
The Good: Having known people in these types of situations, as realistic as the film attempts to be, I can’t help but think a lot of the rough edges are sanded off in About Scout. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a bit of a fairy tale.
For example, most suicidal mental patients do not resemble Brandon Routh in Superman Returns. Even Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys managed to grunge up a bit in the looney bin. But here is James Frecheville, looking like an Australian lifeguard that took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. He almost kind of reminds me of Jon Hamm as Dr. Drew Baird on 30 Rock, who was clueless that people treated him with such deference because he was good looking.
I understand that this is not a gritty movie about poverty despite all the poverty porn. The reality is this is a very much a fairy tale. The 15-year-old girl has the evil, wicked potential stepmother, and she rescues her younger sister from her and goes to live with her prince in a castle in New York. I mean, that’s actually what happens in this movie.
I don’t mean to give the wrong impression. I actually like the fairy tale ending and I’m very glad the movie didn’t go the other more obvious route for some easy pathos.
While I am still in the good category, I would be remiss not to mention all the great acting. Both Danny Glover (Who is in the movie a lot more than I thought he would be) and Ellen Burstyn give outstanding performances. It really is the lead and cowriter India Ennenga that steals the show, however. It is a shame that About Scout did not get a wider release because she is fantastic in this.
The Bad: Wikipedia has About Scout as a comedy drama. Really comedy? If there is an intentional laugh in About Scout, I missed it. About Scout is a romantic drama fantasy. I explained the drama and the fantasy above, but it is the romance that gets the film a little off the rails.
India Ennenga’s 15-year-old Scout is clearly in love with the older James Frecheville. We don’t always get a good read on James’ feelings. (Script issue not actor). Throughout the film, they both seem to be in a romance with each other. So much so that when James goes on a date with a hotel receptionist (Shelley Hennig) it seems so out of left field (And bluntly out of character for James) one almost thinks it is in the script so we can see India jealous.
Or it is in the script because About Scout wants to have its cake and yet have an excuse when the torches and pitchforks arrive for thier having a 15-year-old in an age gap relationship with a twenty something hunk. The movie never picks a lane (even at the end).
The Ugly: About Scout is very lucky I saw that Howard Hughes film last week because if I hadn’t I would have easily called this the worst soundtrack ever in a movie. The weird thing is none of the songs by themselves are bad. The light indie college radio tunes are just so relentless. There is barely a moment of screen time not haunted by the modern equivalent of Bread.
Seriously, is it possible to overdose on quirky? Is there something I need to take? Should I call someone? I feel like calling 411 and saying I’ve done over an hour of Indie music and quirky situations where somebody put fluorescent light bulbs in the desert to make them glow and I need some help.
In Conclusion: India Ennenga is excellent. Everyone else is very solid. The cast is star-studded (Jane Seymour is in this for God’s sake). As road trip indie films go, there are certainly worse out there. About Scout just seems scared of the chemistry between its own leads. It does not know whether this is a parental relationship, a quirky friendship or a romance. At times, it seems to be all three.