Juggalos Meet Taylor Schilling In Laura Steinel’s Family

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Director: Laura Steinel

Writer: Laura Steinel

Stars: Taylor Schilling, Jessie Ennis, Kate McKinnon, Byrn Vale

SXSW is the top premiere spot to showcase a new film coming to the big screen in North America. With this year’s festival having a record number of films premiering, there was considerable buzz generated around Laura Steinel’s “Family.” Now I was a bit partial to this film. Sometime last year, a decent amount of people I knew were cast as “Juggalo” extras in this film. A good handful of those friends and even myself were invited to the red carpet screening at the Stateside Theater. It indeed was an honor to be a fly on the wall for such an event. Thank you Scotty D and Laura Steinel for inviting us all out.

Steinel’s Family Combines Laughter With Love And Acceptance

Family” is a comedy-drama that focuses on a young teenager, Maddie,(Byrn Vale) looking for acceptance and love. A borrowed concept from the timeless John Candy classic, “Uncle Buck.” Kate(Taylor Schilling) is asked to care for Maddie while her parents go out of town to care for a dying family member. Kate is by no means fit to watch over anyone’s child, much less herself.

Kate is so self-absorbed and blunt in every minute of her day, she does not have the first idea of how to relate to Maddie. When she comes to find out she is being bullied at school, Kate relates from her own childhood. It is at that point the walls she has built around herself slowly begin to chip away. What was originally only supposed to be one night watching Maddie becomes a full week. This takes Kate entirely out of her comfort zone at work. This unexpected change causes her to start neglecting the details to land a huge new client.

Kate is known in the office to be cutthroat, but now that she is distracted trying to care for Maddie, and it begins to backfire on her. A younger and ambitiously hungry young woman named Erin (Jessie Ennis) begins to take a page out of Kate’s playbook. Kate’s focus begins to separate as she begins to focus less on work and more on caring for Maddie. The more she leans towards the nurturing side, the more Kate’s calloused exterior shell starts to crack away.

In the middle of Kate’s failed efforts, Maddie ends up going missing and finds her identity within the Juggalo family. At some point during the search for Maddie, Kate learns that she has made her way to the Gathering of the Juggalos. The Gathering is a music festival which has gained some notoriety and continues to be a topic of discussion in today’s pop culture.

The series of events proposes a moral decision of what is more important to Kate, working on her career or building a relationship with Maddie. By the end of the movie, you will find yourself in the feels. This production was brilliantly put together and structured. It made me quite happy to see Steinel portray Juggalos at their core, which compliments the storyline so well.


Steinel’s Family Will Having You Looking Past The Grease Paint And Faygo While Showering You In Love

When most people think of Juggalos and the whole subculture that surrounds it, many people are quick to pass judgment on them. What most people fail to realize is that most Juggalos can identify with the subject matter of the film. They can relate to people looking down on them. Juggalos have found love and acceptance within each other when the world tosses them aside.

One of the things I adore about this film is how that very same love and acceptance from the Juggalos is captured in this comedy gold classic. This movie captures the essence of family, not only by blood but also by bonds. Leaving the theater left me feeling thankful and cherishing all of the friends who were able to make it out to the premiere and beyond. Furthermore, it was an incredible experience hanging out with Laura Steinel and the rest of the cast. I look forward to seeing this one again. Whoop Whoop!


What Is A Juggalo?

Video courtesy of Austin American Statesman

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