- Reviewed from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
With shades of Mustang, Thirteen and Rocks, co-directors Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt tenderly observe the lives of a sprawling friendship group of teen girls in Texas. At fifteen years old, they have a burgeoning consciousness of their own formative childhood experiences, the examples set by their parents and the lives they want to lead.
Phones lodged in the back pockets of their daisy dukes, on guard for a selfie opportunity or boy update, they stride around the golden fields or hang out with older guys at parties, feeling everything as a blasting soundtrack of Lil Peep amplifies their raging energy. Soft, tentative big-eyed deer approach at night with curiosity.
With glowing horizons, Hill and Bethencourt’s cinematography is delicate, poetic, and figurative. What Cusp captures is the confusing hinterland between childhood and adulthood, but also the shocking, widespread sexual assault that most of them have experienced and come to accept as the norm. It’s an intimate portrait of confident, sassy, self-reflective girls who are aware of the patriarchal system in which they have to survive, for now.
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