I could relate to Billy. We watch him struggle through social akwardness, first love, and dealing with a world where he seems to be the most reasonable person in the room. His heart is so pure and his feelings are so deep. There is a sweetness and a vulnerability to Billy, and even days after watching this my mind keeps going back to Billy. I hope his life is turning out well.
The camera(s) are allowed to follow Billy (for awhile) because he's soooo interesting and wonderful. Smart and innocent, kind-hearted and trusting. So (for awhile) we get to see the world the way Billy saw it back then. He's the kid I'd always want to stay in touch with...to see what happened later in life and have conversations with his Mom, as interesting and compassionate as I'd want a Mom to be. I love slices-of-life stories and Billy's was both heart-rending and humorous. I found myself smiling through most of the film because I liked the way most of the people treated Billy and found I liked the same people Billy liked. I didn't want to not have this wonderful documentary (and Billy) with me in case I wanted to see him again or share him with someone I knew would be as impressed as I've been, so I bought the documentary and Billy and his teenage world in Maine, is sitting on my shelf, nestled among the other films or documentaries I couldn't live without.
I first came across this film when I saw it linked to Ryan Gosling's name. I love his work and was disappointed at first when I slowly figured out that he isn't in it. (Only the commentary, which, by the way, was beautiful). When Amazon first listed this film for "pre-sale" it didn't have as much description, etc. explaining what it was. My initial disappointment quickly wore off as I began to get more and more into Billy's story. He's a strong, beautiful, poetic kid doing the best he can in a world that isn't always kind. I think everyone can probably relate in some way to Billy. He try's real hard and always wants to be on the side of good. What struck me more than anything else, was his MOM. She's like GOD incarnate or something. She's been there for him every step of the way guiding, nurturing, protecting, defending, LOVING!!! It's a powerful film that shouldn't be missed. (And, I probably would have missed it, if it hadn't been linked to Ryan's name.) It's a beautiful story about two challenging lives and the HUGE amount of love that intertwines them. If there were more mom's like Penny, we'd see a completely different world!!! Peace, LOVE, and all good things, L.