A coming-of-age story about a teenager aging out of the Killeen foster care system has movie critics talking after its debut at the South By Southwest film festival in Austin.
Rolling Stone, Deadline, Texas Monthly and Austin Monthly have all published stories about the Texas-filmed movie “Friday’s Child.”
Texas-native Tye Sheridan plays Richie, a boy fresh out of a Killeen foster care system at 18 who turns to petty crime to survive, and discovers an impossible love in an unlikely friend. Sheridan was in the 2012 movie “Mud” that starred Matthew McConaughey and is set to star in the Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of a science fiction young adult novel — “Ready Player One” — that’s set for release March 29.
While the film is based around Richie’s emergence from the Killeen foster care system, the movie was not filmed here. Director A.J. Edwards told a SXSW audience in an interview that the movie was shot in Waco, Austin, Marfa, Alpine, Terlingua and Monahans.
There were also scenes filmed at the Bell County Jail.
“They had the actual guards take me through the prison and treat me like an actual prisoner,” Sheridan told Austin Monthly. “I think it shows in the film — there’s a certain essence of the movie that feels very real. And, there’s a lot of humanity. We wanted to have that ingrained in the story.”
The film features a Texas-heavy cast. Sheridan hails from Elkhart, and co-star Caleb Landry Jones — who plays Swim — is from Garland. Matthew Albrecht, who plays Jamie, and Sharmita Bhattacharya, who plays Laya, both are from the Houston area. It is the second film Edwards has made in Texas.
“After my first film, I knew that I wanted to work here with a Texan crew and a Texas-based story,” he said at the Deadline Studio SXSW. “And it was lovely.”
The foster care system is a dominant theme in the film, according to a story in Texas Monthly.
In an interview at SXSW, Sheridan said Edwards handed him a book meant to provide teenagers with guidelines as they aged out of the foster care system. The book had details about basic day-to-day things, such as grocery shopping and doing laundry.
“I realized how grateful or how lucky I was to come from a family that I had a support system like that,” Sheridan said. “For us, I think making this movie and knowing there are so many kids out there that grew up in the foster system I think it was important for us to really hone in and tap into that truth and speak to the heart of that and everything that surrounds it.”
The movie has an 8.6 rating out of 10 on the International Movie Data Base website.