Terri is an obese teenage boy who’s inevitably bullied at school, who lives alone with and cares for his senile uncle, and whose attire of choice is a comfy pair of pyjamas, which he wears everywhere.
Yes, the kid definitely has problems, but self-esteem isn’t one of them, and that’s the unique twist in this coming-of-age tale. Terri is as comfortable in his own skin as he is in those PJs, and bristles when the well-meaning school principal (John C. Reilly) treats him as a troubled student in need of special help.
Still, their relationship develops, as does another with a truly screwed-up boy plus a third with a sexually confused girl.
En route, the narrative meanders at times, and the larger themes of predation and death don’t always feel entirely earned. But at his best, especially during a weird yet suspenseful climax, director Azazel Jacobs has the gift of making the brutally real seem intensely surreal – surely a hallmark of everyone’s teenage years.
On screen almost continuously, Jacob Wysocki infuses his performance in the title role with precisely that same duality, turning Terri into an oversized portrait of adolescence – so naive yet so wise, strangely believable and believably strange.
- Directed by Azazel Jacobs
- Written by Patrick Dewitt
- Starring Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly
- Classification: 14A