Things are going quite well for this urban family in the Big Apple as psychologist dad does his figuring out at the office, former-attorney mom happily stays home to raise their son and said kid Jake has a fine time creatively dressing up as his favorite story characters, in his room and with the other children in his preschool.
Then comes time to apply for kindergarten, and pressures start to rise for all involved.
A Kid Like Jake, directed by Silas Howard from the screenplay Daniel Pearle adapted from his own 2013 play, addresses what could and should be a most relevant topic in our day and age.
Jake, you see, as he turns 4 and readies for interviews at private schools that are quite hard to get into, still identifies with the princesses in the stories and puts on dresses over his clothes.
His mother has no issues with his play choices.
His school director judges not. She suggests that mom mentions Jake’s creative thinking in the essay that must be written to accompany kindergarten applications.
Of course, not everybody in society will react to Jake’s behavior the same way.
The cast could deliver a special film here. Yet Claire Danes as mom and Jim Parsons as dad don’t quite get passionate enough about the whole important matter until very far into the process, and their chemistry together never really clicks. Octavia Spencer as the preschool director sometimes seems to have the most emotional connection to the subject, in fact.
As we watched on the living room flat screen, I kept wishing for less teeth-gnashing about the adults and more focus about making things OK for the youngest member of the family.