Cusp will end up being one of the most powerful films of the year. As is often the case with these types of movies, it is also very controversial. The documentary takes place in a small town in Texas and follows the lives of three girls named Brittney, Aaloni, and Autumn. It is a candid and provocative look at sex, gender roles, and coming of age in the modern world.
The film deals with topics in a straightforward that is not often seen in cinema. There will be many who find the documentary exploitative. This is not entirely incorrect, but it is more a matter of Cusp being frank than taking advantage of anyone. From the opening shot, violence is a major theme. It is hard not to be taken aback by some of the stories that are told.
This leads into another important aspect of Cusp. Just like it is for most teenagers, sex is an important part of the lives of Brittney, Aaloni, and Autumn. This is not to say the trio are similar to the sex crazed teens of high school sex comedies. It is just a part of their lives. The conversations dealing with sex are some of the most memorable. Sexual assault is discuss in a casual manner that will put off many and the girls are incredibly open about their pasts. For better and worse, Cusp pulls no punches.
This adds an authenticity that will catch much of the audience off guard. The premise is made for melodrama and manufactured hardships. Cusp never gives off that feeling. Filmmakers Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt treat everyone with respect and it shows. As difficult as some of the conversations in the documentary can be to hear, it is impossible to turn away.
Cusp is screening in limited theaters and premieres on Showtime November 26
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