Becoming a Man
Kyle Peoples (Lukas Haas) does not like who he is—a 30 year old accountant in a dead end job. He has a lover who is more successful than he is and a family that does not understand him. At a party one night he gets the opportunity to change. He has become friendly with Maia and Dusty and is introduced to crystal meth and this cost him his job, his lover, his home and his family. He is trapped in the escape that he wanted so badly but he realizes that it is all an illusion and the drug is killing him both physically and psychologically. When he hits bottom he really hits and he must decide whether he wants life or meth.
Kyle had been a loving partner, brother and son. He has had dreams of having his old company and to marry Julian, his partner. But all this stops with crystal met and his life goes out of control. Kyle has issues—he desperately wants approval from his father, a politician who does not like his son’s lifestyle. The way the character is played by Lukas Haas, we see him as both vulnerable and sympathetic even with the mistakes he has made. It is hard to watch him as a meth addict because he still shows some humanity. When he begins to spiral downward, he breaks our hearts.
Luke or Dusty (Blake Berris) is the dealer who introduces Kyle to crystal. He radiates a youthful innocence but he is an addict who loves his drug. We do not see him spiraling out of control. His relationship with Kyle shows us that he is co-dependent and his addiction takes him to a terrible place. Maia (Necar Zadegan) is also an addict who has already lost her daughter to social services because of it.
Julian (Wilson Cruz) is both patient and frustrated with Kyle. He wants the best for him and he really tries to help but when Kyle is down and out of control, he steps back. He knows if he pushes too hard, nothing will come of it. He takes Kyle’s addiction very hard.
Director Jane Clark gives us a powerful message yet also shows us the emotions of her characters. This is not easy to watch—the journey through addiction is powerful and it makes this a very dark film. This is a very sad film and that is because Clark has chosen to tell the story with grit. I understand that this is based on a true story. What Clark does here is to rely on deep and emotional character studies to present her film and it works beautifully.