Nothing can prepare you for Kids. Funnily enough I’m talking about the film, but double goes for actual kids. As this film shows, nothing you do can prepare you for parenting and all it takes is one bad egg and your child’s life could be ruined.
Kids follows a day in the life of four youngsters from New York City. I say youngsters, but these 15 year olds are acting way above their age; they spend their days drinking, smoking pot and having sex with anything that moves. The story goes like this; set in the early 1990s, Jennie has just discovered she has HIV. She has only had sex once, so figuring out who gave it to her is easy, that is Telly. Telly is racing around the city looking for his latest conquest, you see Telly loves virgins and does everything he can to get with as many as he can. The tension builds as Jennie chases down Telly before he can ruin another girls life.
This film is not messing around; you really need to know that going in. The film was refused classification in most countries and a cut version was granted R in Australia. This is extremely heavy and features young teenagers doing extremely bad things. But it is important, the film earned 20 million world-wide despite its setbacks due to the film educating adults and opening eyes to issues of 90s youth.
What really strikes a chord is the realism. You don’t need to be a genius to realise scenarios in the film might be slightly exaggerated, but most can acknowledge that the 90s was an uneasy time, with aids and sexual activity on the rise the US government were doing as little as possible and schools were not doing enough to educate teens. Amoral teens like those presented in Kids may have been uncommon, but like every generation they do exist. And when a killer virus is in the mix the results are deadly.
Whilst the importance of the film has waned over time due to enhanced sexual education, medical developments and cultural shifts, the film is an interesting time-capsule that looks harshly and deeply into a time many would like to forget. The film is studied in universities throughout the world and is a significant landmark for cinema.
For its cultural significance and the impact it had this gets a perfect score, but as a film being watched now I’ll give it 3 out of 5. This is still a recommended, if uneasy, watch.