Carl (Owen Scheid) and Sam (Hannah Black) are brother and sister. They both work at a local supermarket where Carl takes care of the shopping trolleys, making sure everything is in place. Carl is also obsessed with the weather, a passion that particularly comes in handy when during a drought he discovers that a storm is on the way. So, with Sam, their friend Lewis (Drew Scheid) and their designated babysitter, Lillian (Megan Petersen), they borrow their mum’s ice cream truck and set out to chase the storm while their parents are away.
Drought is a charming comedy drama written and directed by Hannah Black and Megan Petersen in their feature directorial debut. Set in the early Nineties, Drought takes the audience back to a seemingly simpler time in a small town in America where nothing really important mattered.
The cast are all great and the film goes along at a steady pace, making it just as light and breezy as their ice cream truck journey.
Owen Scheid and Hannah Black also have great chemistry, making them really feel like brother and sister and the dialogue between them is funny and natural. Also, Owen Scheid’s performance as an autistic person is particularly good because – Owen Scheid is actually autistic himself.
This brings a real authenticity to the role and of course never makes it feel like the audience is watching an actor doing a performance of someone so far removed from themselves.
Carl’s character is also not a typical portrayal of an autistic person, although there are traits which audiences may recognise such as when he has a meltdown at work and his obsessive hobby. Although Carl is no savant, just an autistic boy with an interest and his character isn’t juvenilised either. Drought shows an autistic person in a loving family and with the same kind of sibling tensions that may fit any brother/sister relationship.
Drought is a wonderful story, not just for one that shows an autistic actor in a major role, but just as a well told, directed and acted story which will appeal to a wide audience.
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