What's it about?
All the Fine Boys revolves around best friends Jenny and Emily - both fourteen living in South Carolina in the 1980's and looking to rid themselves of their inexperience in the romance department. Both seeking out men older than them, they each have to deal with the consequences that comes with trying to dive into adulthood too soon.
What I experienced?
Looking at the lineup for this show, consisting of Oscar nominated Abigail Breslin, Hunger Games' Isabelle Fuhrman and Naked Brother's Band's Alex Wolff, I was so pumped to see actors around my age that I knew even though I had zero clue what the show was about.
Jenny and Emily's relationship is something that I am all too familiar with and I think any girl who has had a best friend that they truly felt comfortable around would connect to these two. They spend a good chunk of their time together in Jenny's basement eating junk food, watching horror movies that Jenny's mom rented for them, playing truth or dare and talking about all the boys they would like to kiss. It's clear from the very beginning of the show that both girls are incredibly curious about boys, especially older ones. And I think, we've all been down that road before.
Let me just say, I am not easily made uncomfortable by taboo subjects or content. But there was something so vulnerable and awkward when I saw it come to life onstage. Jenny - who I will remind you again is F O U R T E E N - begins a love affair with a man from her church who is 28. Her church y'all. I mean... why? Even setting his age aside? There was one scene in particular where I found myself hiding behind my oversized sweater and sinking into my chair. And the scene I am referring to was the scene when Jenny and Joseph (our 28 year old church friend) have sex for Jenny's first time.
This scene was VERY intimate. He asks her for permission first and then he begins slowly removing his clothing and her tights. The entire two minutes of this sex scene made me feel like an intruder. But at the same time, I couldn't shake the contradictory feelings I had while watching. Now before you start looking at me and judging, hear me out! Yes, I am well aware that a man his age should DEFINITELY not be engaging in any kind of romantic or sexual relationship with a girl her age. However, there wasn't a single moment throughout this entire show where I actually looked at Jenny as a fourteen year old. I know she's supposed to be a fourteen year old trying to pretend she's older and more mature but in reality, I found it impossible, especially in the scenes where Joseph and Jenny are together, to separate Abigail (the actress who is 20) from Jenny (her character who is 14). Because of that, while it felt awkward to watch the scene knowing that what was happening was totally wrong, I still found myself rooting for them, because I wasn't able to see the age difference between them the way I probably should have been able to.
My favorite duo of this small cast was hands down Emily and Adam! Adam is older (he is in high school, so not TOO bad) and very philosophical. He plays the guitar, talks in a lot of abstracts and is just awesome. Emily, a lot wiser in my opinion than Jenny, gets closer to Adam with the intention of losing her virginity to her long time crush. (spoiler-alert kinda). Although they never technically become a couple, I still enjoyed every scene they had together because it felt like they both were able to learn something and experience something new together, without ever crossing that line.
Overall, I was really into this show. There are a few thriller-y moments that...let's just say that psychological thriller is my favorite book genre. There were moments where I laughed out loud, felt cringe-worthy awkwardness, rooted for something that was terribly wrong and felt totally shocked at the play's ending. It felt like something that I had never seen before and when I left the theatre, it made me think about how often young girls (and maybe even young boys) try to fit into the mold of those who are older. How often we try to skip our youth and do what the older folks do. Are we wrong for being curious? Probably not. But we should be ready for whatever consequences come with wanting to grow up too quickly. Too bad we usually never think that far ahead. I know I never did.
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What did you experience?
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