The Austin Chronicle

Where the Day Takes You

Rated R, 105 min. Directed by Marc Rocco. Starring Dermot Mulroney, Lara Flynn Boyle, Sean Astin, Balthazar Getty, Kyle MacLachlan, Laura San Giacomo, James Le Gros, Ricki Lake, Stephen Tobolowsky, Pete Dobson, Adam Baldwin, Will Smith, Nancy Mckeon.

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Nov. 6, 1992

A labor of love, Where the Day Takes You literally takes to the streets in depicting the lives of homeless teenagers in Hollywood. There's no small irony in the film's setting: for the runaways, it's a place where dreams give way to the hard, cold facts of staying alive from day to day. Blessed with an ensemble cast of young actors without Brat Pack pretensions, Where the Day Takes You is often so authentic in its depiction of street life that you'll find yourself flinching, a response undoubtedly intended to result in a little consciousness-raising. (Although the lack of ethnic diversity in the group of homeless kids seems questionable, the film is otherwise so bona fide that it's highly unlikely it misrepresents the racial profile of those living on the streets of Hollywood.) These exiled adolescents wander the L.A. boulevards for a variety of reasons, most of which unfortunately have become made-for-TV-movie clich├ęs: sexual abuse by family members, unloving or absent parents, or just plain old teenage rebellion. Having left their traditional families, these kids form new ones, ones whose ties are fashioned from a code of survival rather than flesh and blood. In Where the Day Takes You, the family is headed by the charismatic King, a twentysomething patriarch who looks after those who can't look after themselves. Mulroney, a very gifted performer (remember him in Longtime Companion), commands the screen with a laconic strength in the role. He's matched every step of the way by his fellow actors. The kindred alliance formed by the characters they play may not be the traditional family embodying the values the Republicans so shamelessly trumpet, but it's as compelling as any group of people bound together that you're likely to see.

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