Eban And Charley

  • 2000
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

A May-December romance in a small Pacific Northwest town arouses bitter passions in this earnest but unenlightening drama. Though first-time feature filmmaker James Bolton clearly wants viewers to ponder the ambiguities of a relationship in which one partner is a teenager and the other an adult, he undermines his own carefully balanced presentation of the...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A May-December romance in a small Pacific Northwest town arouses bitter passions in this earnest but unenlightening drama. Though first-time feature filmmaker James Bolton clearly wants viewers to ponder the ambiguities of a relationship in which one partner is a teenager and the other an adult, he undermines his own carefully balanced presentation of the situation by making 29-year-old Eban (Brent Fellows) so creepy. It's the Christmas season, and soccer coach Eban, who's left his job at a Seattle boys school under mysterious circumstances (okay, not so mysterious), returns home to his taciturn parents (Ron Upton, Pam Munter). Eban, who's never had many friends his own age, soon strikes up a conversation with 14-year-old Charley (Giovanni Andrade), whose mother's death the previous year forced him to move in with his father (Nolan Chard). Charley has only two friends, both outcasts his own age: Kevin (Drew Zeller), who is deaf — as was Charley's mother, so he's fluent in sign language — and Kevin's girlfriend Sun (Ellie Nicholson), whose family hates Kevin because he's handicapped and non-white. Eban offers to teach Charley to play guitar, and Charley quickly establishes that he's interested in a more intimate relationship. Eban's long history of teenaged boyfriends has taught him the consequences of such relationships, but he eventually succumbs; Charley's father inevitably figures out what's up and threatens to have Eban arrested. Bolton, who both directed and wrote the screenplay, has said he was inspired by the experience of a teenager whose older boyfriend broke up with him under pressure from his friends, and takes the position that such relationships should be judged on a case-by-case basis. But the case he makes doesn't make a compelling argument in their favor: The most charitable thing you can say about Eban, who's fresh from one disastrous relationship with a teenager (one of his students, yet) and bicycling around town looking for another, is that he's socially retarded. Charley, meanwhile, is a gay teenager in a small town; he's too young to drive and lives with a parent who's openly hostile to his sexual orientation. It's hard not to see his attraction to Eban as hormonally driven desperation. Bolton's use of music is painfully obvious — the first time they hang out together, Eban plays a song about being afraid to verbalize your feelings — and his dialogue never misses an opportunity to articulate the issues.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A May-December romance in a small Pacific Northwest town arouses bitter passions in this earnest but unenlightening drama. Though first-time feature filmmaker James Bolton clearly wants viewers to ponder the ambiguities of a relationship in which one partn… (more)

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