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Starring Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, and a cast of talented newcomersIt is rated R for violence/horror, bloody images,
and for language. Based on the novel by Steven King.  
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It is a classic horror movie.  It has murders and severed body parts, haunted houses, dark sewers, forbidding woods and monsters that come from the depths of our nightmares. It has a scary clown. A very scary clown. Perhaps the scariest clown in collective movie memory.  Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of “It” is truly terrifying. He drools, he taunts, he tempts, and he kills. He jumps out from hidden corners and bends his body to scuttle up a flight of stairs after you. “It” turns itself into the image of your deepest, darkest fear and chases you down with purpose. If you are a fan of the horror genre, there’s simply no reason for you not to see and enjoy this movie.
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Having said all of that, It delivers on deeper levels, as well.  If you’re a fan of King, you already know his propensity for telling coming of age stories with a sinister twist.  At its core, It is a movie about growing up. A group of seven misfits, aged 13, come together over the course of a summer and form an unbreakable bond. It is this enduring bond of friendship that ultimately allows them to defeat the monster that has killed classmates, friends, even relatives in the case of leading man, Bill Denbrough.
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Bill forms one corner of a teenaged love triangle with new-kid-in-town Ben, and Bev, the Losers Club only female member.  Rounding out the 7, you have class clown Richie, smothered son Eddie, Rabbi’s kid Stan and homeschooled Mike.  Stan is often ostracized for his religion, and Mike because of his race. Together, they help each other survive the monster trying to kill them, coming to understand that it is their unity that makes them so powerful.
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It’s not a stretch from there to understand that It works as a metaphor for the all-too-real perils of adolescence. Your friends, the community you build with each other, is all important. Particularly when you have a bad home life. Unsurprisingly, at least 6 of the Losers Club would rather be in the sewers than at home. (Richie‘s family situation goes unaddressed in the movie.) Bill‘s parents are so wrapped up in their own grief they have nothing left for his. Bill‘s status as de-facto leader of the Losers Club is unquestioned, and it is the loss of his younger brother that drives the whole quest forward.
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Mike lost his parents to a gruesome fire and is kept isolated by his relatives on their sheep farm, made to participate in the gruesome work. Ben is not only new but fat. A condition that guarantees ridicule and abuse from his peers. Stan can’t live up to his father’s expectations and is chafing against the trappings of his family’s religion. Eddie is the victim of a classic smothering mother. Much more than the proverbial helicopter, she keeps her only son as close as she can, using him as an outlet for her own hypochondria.  As the only adult woman in the movie, Eddie‘s mother is a construct, built out of all the worst traits of motherhood, both real and imagined.
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And then we have Bev. Lone female member of the Losers Club, Bev has arguably the worst home life of them all. Being raised solely by her father, Bev lives terrified and abused in her own home. When “It” manifests itself as Bev‘s worst nightmare, It doesn’t have to look far, just needing to don the face and form of her only parent. At 13, all of the kids are exploring their emerging sexuality, but Bev is the only one who is sexualized. Painting a perfect picture of the different ways boys and girls are treated, Bev‘s physical development has subjected her to sexual harassment from her classmates and the slimy smear of abuse that’s painted over her relationship with her father. When Bev is struggling to escape an attempted rape by her father, it’s not clear if he’s possessed by “It” or not. And that makes the scene all that more terrifying — the knowledge that there are fathers (and others) out there who do this to their children without the need of possession by an external monster is what should keep us all up at night.
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Bev is also the fulcrum of a love triangle in the Losers Club, but it is a gentle, soft-edged triangle; no sharp points to draw blood. Ben has all of the longings of unrequited love but quietly accepts that Bev‘s feelings are for Bill.  He accepts this without anger towards either of his friends; he never expected that he had a right to Bev‘s love just because of his for her and there is no whining about being friend-zoned. For her part, although Bev chooses Bill for the short term, she chooses herself in the end and that’s a healthy message for thirteen-year-old girls. (Although, I don’t think many of them should be seeing It.)
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It is a 4-star horror movie. It is a 4-star coming of age movie. It leaves us with the knowledge that while terrifying killer monster clowns are scary, what’s sometimes really frightening is the reality of being a young teenager. It shows us true horror through the eyes of 13-year-old kids.  To them, the killer monster clown is something that they can fight together.  What they can’t always defeat are the realities of their day to day life; not having control of their own destinies, under the power of adults who can’t or won’t enter into their world or their concerns, relentless bullying unchecked by teachers or parents, living in an abusive home.  The terror that should follow us home and into our nightmares isn’t Pennywise – it’s Mike‘s Uncle, it’s Henry Bowers, it’s Bev‘s father.  True fright comes from being powerless, and who’s more powerless in our world than children?