Title: 1 Out Of 7
Director: York Shackleton (‘Kush’)
Starring: Laura Ramsey (‘Kill the Irishman,’ ‘The Ruins’), Toby Hemingway (‘Black Swan,’ ‘In Time’) and Vivica A. Fox
People often search their entire lives to find their true identities and truly succeed on their own terms. These desires are the strong motivating factors for the main teen characters in writer-director York Shackleton’s new drama ’1 Out Of 7,’ which is set to hit VOD and select theaters tomorrow. Desperate to get away from their parents and make a life for themselves on their own, they don’t realize how difficult independence can be until they’re forced to live on the desolate streets, alone and scared.
’1 Out Of 7′ follows Lexi (Laura Ramsey), who runs away from her overbearing mother Jan (Theresa Russell) and their home in Seattle after another abusive incident. What starts as a temporary escape to Portland with her friend Tasha (Kelly Kruger), turns into Lexi living on the streets of Portland with the hundreds of other forgotten runaway teens. Lexi meets fellow drug user and street kid Eric (Toby Hemingway), and finally feels like she has met someone who truly loves and understands her.
When Eric abandons Lexi in order to sore his next high, she finds herself alone on the streets. Overwhelmed by despair and loneliness, Lexi turns to Devon (Vivica A. Fox), who, despite battling her own demons, takes her in off the streets. As the two begins to form an emotional bond, Lexi must question what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She must decide if she wants to continue living on her own, or return to her sister Krisi (Mika Boorem) and their mother, who is expressing grief and regret over the way her relationship with her daughter turned out.
In ’1 Out Of 7,’ Shackleton captured the essence of teenage angst through Lexi’s estranged relationship with her mother. Lexi feels conflicted over her despaired feelings towards her mother; she thinks Jan’s overbearing ways are what drives everyone away, especially after her father left the family. But once she begins experiencing loneliness and helplessness on the streets of Portland, Lexi truly evolves. She comes to appreciate her mother’s concern for her life and future, even if she doesn’t express her thoughts in the most heartfelt way.
After spending time, and speaking, with Devon, Lexi realizes that her mother must truly be worried about where she is and if she’s still alive. She finally begins to ponder if she should give up some of her new-found freedom and independence to return back to her family.
Shackleton also made a smart decision in casting Ramsey and Hemingway as the star-crossed, drug-addicted runaway teens in ’1 Out Of 7.’ The two actors have a believable working relationship and genuine bond, as they previously starred together in ‘The Covenant.’ Hemingway and Ramsey portrayed Lexi and Eric as being sincerely drawn together, since they feel as though their mothers don’t truly care for them.
Though ’1 Out Of 7′ is heavily based on Lexi’s torturous journey of self-exploration, Eric is the true stand-out character in the drama. He also feels abandoned and unloved by his mother, like Lexi, and believes that drugs are the only thing he can turn to to feel better. Heminway emotionally played the character as wanting to improve his life when he initially meets Lexi, because he’s happy he has finally found someone who understands him and wants to be with him.
But as the film continues, Eric reverts back to using drugs because that’s the only thing he knows and is comfortable with. His actions prove that while Lexi is truly changed by her experiences living away from her family, Eric is stuck in the continued cycle of relapsing, due to the lack of emotional support.
For a low-budget, independent film, ’1 Out Of 7′ captures the true struggles that teenagers face with their families, and the toll having a strained relationship with a parent takes on them. Lexi initially falls into the stereotype of using drugs to get attention and feel better about herself. However, she truly matures throughout the course of the film when she realizes the effects her actions have on other people. Eric perfectly counteracts Lexi’s naive nature with his self-serving and destructive ways, showing the different and horrifying consequences of a tragic lifestyle.
Written by: Karen Benardello