What You Need To Know:
(H, LLL, V, S, N, A) Light humanist, socially liberal worldview; over 25 obscenities & several vulgarities; mild violence--1 meager, comical fist fight; 2 implied sexual encounters, implied adultery, not condoned, & frequent sexual innuendo; brief, partial nudity--2 women shown in underwear, several people on nude beach barely, but discreetly, covered; and, alcohol consumption at party & smoking.
After accidentally burning down the family’s home, 16-year-old Drew Tate is off to Martha’s Vineyard with his parents to spend the rest of the summer with relatives in the coming-of-age story THE INKWELL. It is 1976, disco, afros and bell-bottoms are the fashion, and Drew’s parents are in frequent conflict, which isn’t helping the shy, black teenager navigate the emotional swings of the teen years. Plot-wise, there are no surprises here. Drew has a crush on the local teen beauty who breaks his heart. He finds consolation in an older but quite beautiful married woman he had befriended earlier who has just discovered a cheating husband. Put two and two together and we have the coming-of-age, now-you’re-a-man, sexual awakening. (SUMMER OF ’42, perhaps?) This element totally ruins an otherwise bittersweet and potentially uplifting story.
THE INKWELL (named for a local community center) showed promise: Drew’s parents reconciling in one touching scene; the playful innocence of Drew, portrayed wonderfully by newcomer Larenz Tate; a friendship between Drew and a caring Jamaican counselor; and, the wonderfully refreshing cultural backdrop of a black community without the usual Hollywood stereotypes of pimps, hookers and gang violence. Regrettably, Disney spoils a potentially enjoyable film and some excellent acting performances with sex and foul language.