Pumpkin Person rating: 9/10
My coworkers and I just watched this movie on CRAVE and I was really impressed with it.
The plot: A 17-year-old girl (Autumn) and her same-age cousin (Skylar) take a bus to New York city because their working class white Rustbelt town doesn’t allow her to get an abortion without parental consent. After getting the abortion, they spend the night bowling and singing karaoke with a boy who gives them enough cash to buy a bus ticket back home.
That’s literally all that happens, and yet it’s one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen. It just feels so real, like you’re watching a documentary. The actors all look like ordinary people, the scenes are all in everyday locations like grocery stores, buses, bowling alleys and medical clinics with fluorescent lighting, and minimal dialogue. Indeed the film’s protagonist hardly speaks and when asked questions, gives one word answers. The only time she comes alive is when she’s singing.
We never really learn who got her pregnant but it doesn’t matter. Every male in the film, from the bullies at their school, to their uncompassionate grocery store boss, to the old man customer at the grocery store, to her own father, comes across as a predator.
“Girl child isn’t safe in a World full of men,” Oprah once said.
Even after leaving their lower class town, it doesn’t stop. While on a bus in New York city a man in a business suit stands looking at them, and then unzips his pants to masturbate.
Finally they meet an innocent looking guy around their age who romantically sings Cherokee to Skylar.
Sadly, even he just wants to ply Skylar with alcohol and take sexual advantage.
By the end of the night he gets Skylar against a circular brick pillar and starts kissing her. What neither of them know is that behind the pillar is Autumn. In an especially poignant scene, Autumn reaches for Sylar’s hand and simply locks pinky fingers with her, as if to say “I’m here for you, and I feel your pain”.
And that was what they’ll remember of their big trip to New York city, as they take the long bus ride back to Pennsylvania…
… in the dark.