Kelsey Keel in My Louisiana Sky (2001)

A Summer of Understanding

The only life 12 year old Tiger Ann Parker (Kelsey Keel) has known is the one she has now; living in the home belonging to her grandmother Jewel (Shirley Knight) and her parents Corrina (Amelia Campbell) and Lonnie (Chris Owens) who both have an intellectual disability. But with summer having an approached it is a time of change for young Tiger as whilst she loves her parents she starts to want more from life than what her rural life offers. But whilst dealing with puberty as well as Jessie Wade (Michael Cera) the local boy she some times hangs with, she goes to visit her aunt Dorie Kay (Juliette Lewis) who lives in the city which opens up her eyes to what her rural life has to offer.

I have mentioned before that "coming-of-age" movies can have a very niche audience with their appeal sometimes only reaching as far as those who have a shared experience. But "My Louisiana Sky" whilst giving us this set up of a teenager dealing with disabled parents and the onset of puberty it actually tells a universal story. Let's put it this way; when I was a teenager I know I looked on at what my friends had and was jealous, I also got upset if a friend would hang out with another when we had planned do something and as for being seen with my parents well that was a big no no. And that is part of what we get in "My Louisiana Sky" as Tiger starts to feel all these things as she sees the differences between the way she lives and others whilst also becoming aware of the sniggers that other kids make about her and her parents.

Juliette Lewis in My Louisiana Sky (2001)

And that is very much what you get in "My Louisiana Sky" and rather surprisingly it isn't really focused on the issues of having disabled parents. Now to be honest there was some thing missing for me which took this from being okay to being a memorable, nostalgic experience. And the reason is that it doesn't play on the era of when it was set enough or really brings the moments of drama to life, almost doing a too good of a job of underplaying them. What this does is put a lot of weight on the young shoulders of Kelsey Keel to carry the movie and sadly there are times she struggles to bring out the emotion of the character especially during moments of drama.

What this all boils down to is that "My Louisiana Sky" is a nice coming of age drama which worked beyond what seems like its initial premise. But whilst I can appreciate why some might be charmed by this movie it didn't go beyond just being a good movie with a nice dose of charm for me.