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THE DANGEROUS LIVES
OF ALTAR BOYS
Cast: Jodie Foster, Vincent D'Onofrio, Kieran Culkin, Jena Malon, Emile Hirsch, Jake Richardson, Tyler Long, Melissa Suzanne McBride, Dylan Scott, Michele Seidman
Director: Peter Care
USA: 105 mins
USA Rated: R for language, sexual content and youth substance use
USA Release Date: 14 June 2002 (Limited Release)
Based on Chris Fuhman's original and audacious coming-of-age novel, THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS is a 70's-set drama featuring two charming but irreverent Catholic high school adolescent boys who confront the mysteries of adulthood. Francis (Emile Hirsch), Tim (Kieran Culkin) and their friends see the world as a clear and simple place. In their limited experience, the universe is comprised of heroes and villains and it's always possible to tell the difference between the two. Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster), the nun who has become the emblematic authority figure in their lives is the enemy. Seeing only her rules and daily efforts to subvert their fun instead of the genuine concern she has for their souls, the boys use their artistic talents to create a hard-edged comic book that depicts Sister Assumpta as a fiendish, motorcycle-riding villain who battles their animated alter-egos. Throughout the story, their fantasy universe comes to life in animated sequences, paralleling the live-action tale of friendship, first-love and inevitable loss.
In their real lives, Francis and Tim experience a series of misadventures - some comic and some decidedly serious - that lead them closer to maturity. When Francis feels the heady sensation of first love with Margie (Jena Malone), a beautiful, young classmate with a sad and surprising secret, he discovers that life is rarely what it seems to be. There are no easy solutions to the complex and often unfathomable problems ahead. He learns the most painful lesson of all - that growing up means learning how to depend on yourself. While Francis struggles with his hormonal and emotional confusions, Tim launches a series of boyish escapades that have unanticipated consequences. An improbable revenge scheme directed at Sister Assumpta backfires in an unexpected way, leaving Francis alone and acutely aware of the perils of the difficult journey from innocence to experience. For him, life will never be simple again.