Suppose you're queer and your entire social and cultural context has been defined by evangelical Christianity. The Wise Kids, a 2011 film by Stephen Cone, explores the lives of people attached to a community that condemns them.
The script and actors take a refreshingly low-key approach, short on histrionics. Laura (Allison Torem) remains friends with Tim (Tyler Ross], even while quietly trying to change his sexuality. Both remain close to Brea (Molly Kunz), clearly on a path away from the faith of her fathers. When Austin, the music director's, marriage falters, the couple try to talk calmly through their troubles. Those troubles stem, in a large part, from Austin's long denial of his own sexuality.
The film presents its characters with little irony. Southern evangelical Christians aren't dim-witted rednecks, ripe for satire-- but neither are their beliefs about queer folk ever validated. No one magically converts away from their same-sex attractions. Tim, who is unalterably gay, may be the most truly devout of his friends. The characters believe what they believe, feel what they feel. As a result, some characters remain uncomfortably closeted, others confront their society, and others will clearly thrive only by leaving a community to which many have deep, deeply-felt connections.
In a world motivated by the Tweets of half-wits who can't think beyond 280 characters, the posts of "Influencers" with no real-world expertise, and online conspiracies with no substantive evidence, a film asking us to reflect thoughtfully and consider the implications of our words and actions amounts to a small triumph.