Archives / 2012 Sundance Film Festival

GOATS

Film Still

Director: Christopher Neil

Screenwriters: Mark Jude Poirier

Institute History

Description

Having a self-absorbed New Age mother and an estranged father means 15-year-old Ellis Whitman has grown up relying on an unconventional guardian: a goat-trekking, marijuana-growing sage called Goat Man. So when Ellis decides to leave the alternative ways of his desert homestead for a stuffy East Coast prep school, major changes are in store. But not in the way you’d think. Though often stoned, the exceedingly smart and capable Ellis effortlessly aces school and excels at track. As the year progresses, it’s his relationships with the adults in his life that test him, challenging his beliefs about responsibility and trustworthiness.

With its expansive vision of family and passel of delicious oddball characters transposed from screenwriter Poirier’s novel with deadpan naturalism, GOATS wryly balances satire with poignancy and tenderness. Ellis’s eventual disillusionment with his various “parents” forces him to seek and find strength within and to realize the truth about love: it’s never perfect, but it is always there.

— C.L.

Screening Details

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