Hide Your Smiling Face is a slow burning drama, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The film, which was released in the US in March of 2014, centers on two brothers, Tommy (Ryan Jones) and Eric (Nathan Vernson). The brothers live in a small community, where everyone knows everyone and gossip spreads like wildfire.
As the movie progresses, it is fairly clear the boys have little adult supervision from their parents. Instead, they hang out with their friends, wrestle and ravage through abandoned houses. After stealing food from a fast food restaurant, Eric and a friend find Tommy’s friend, Ian (Ivan Tomic) dead. The events surrounding the death are suspicious, as the boys begin to suspect Ian’s potentially abusive father (Colm O’Leary) of being involved in one way or another.
Despite the circumstances, the brothers attempt to carry on, as they follow their normal daily grind. Of course, Ian’s death continues to plague them and they eventually lash out and ransack Ian’s father’s house. After a fight with their mother (Christina Starbuck) and father (Chris Kies), the brothers escape from the home in the middle of the night. From there, they venture to the place of Ian’s death, a large bridge, where the boy possibly plummeted to his death.
During their adventure, Eric looks through Tommy’s backpack and discovers he stole Ian’s father’s gun, when they rampaged through his house. The boys eventually discover Ian and the circumstances surrounding his death. Things hit a fever pitch, when Eric wrestles again with his depressed friend. The boys get into a fight, which rules in Eric pulling the gun on him. Will Eric be able to get control his emotions? Or will he let them get the better of him?
Hide your Smiling Faces is a depressing tale, which is driven by strong performances from Ryan Jones and Nathan Varnson. Each scene is beautifully crafted to fit and push the bleak mood onto the viewer. Daniel Patrick Carbone should definitely be credit for directing and writing the screenplay. In the end, this is definitely a film that will make you think and reflect into your own soul.
While I personally enjoyed the movie, it definitely will not be for everyone. Although it does a lot of things right, it is by no means perfect. In fact, it felt like a poor man’s Stand by Me at times. Some viewers will be able to connect emotional with the film’s underlying theme and message, while others will not. Overall, the film is good, but not great. It deserves a 6.5 out of 10.