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Not long ago, botanist Mercer (Jeff Wincott) was on top of the science
game - but then he learned about his chronic, probably terminal illness,
and he decided to drop out of the field, and out of human society really,
to live a life in a shed in the woods, with his days mostly consisting of
collecting mushrooms and doing some research on them in his very makeshift
laboratory, seeing if he can find a cure to cancer ... or at least what
he's having. Eventually, he finds his most promising mushrooms harvested,
but happens upon the boy, Elvis (Wolfgang Wincott) - named after Elvis
Costello, not Presley -, who has taken them but is more than happy to
trade for snacks. Despite his strictly hermit lifestyle, Mercer takes
interest in the boy, offers him shelter, and soon learns that Elvis is a
runaway since his schizophrenic father has set fire to their home and
really has nowhere to go. Things aren't easy at first as the boy tries to
steal from Mercer, but Mercer soon lets sympathy win the upper hand, and
he tries to adopt Elvis the proper way. But his own healt worsens and it's
soon a question whether he'll be able to take care of the boy if he can't
even properly take care of himself ...
Now this is a movie that
was quite obviously made with a lot of heart, so it does neither try to
sugar-coat its story, nor bluntly hammer home any kind of message - two of
the main faults films of this ilk usually have. Instead it tries to tell
its story in an honest way, gives both main characters their individual
flaws, doesn't force its happy ending, and stays true to its characters
rather than molding them to fit a narrative formula. And a direction that
makes the best of use of its rather impressive outdoor locations without
letting them smother the story and performances, and two very believable
and relateable leads make this, despite its rather slow pace, a very
watchable, even likeable piece of cinema.