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Adapted from Brent Hartinger’s best-selling YA novel of the same name, Geography Club tells a classic story of teen angst. Russell (Cameron Stewart) is a teen who’s struggling to figure out his burgeoning sexuality and reconcile the fact that he seems to be attracted to men which is something he can’t be open about in his bully-happy high school. Thankfully, a group of the school’s most misfit-y students form an after school club that, from the outside looking in, appears to be so boring that no one outside their little group would be interested in joining. Within the walls of the classroom meeting place, Russell is free to really express himself and talk about his top-secret romance with one of the school’s most popular boys. Of course, since this is high school, socialization of any kind is never simple so it’s not long before Russell’s secret is being whispered about in the hallways, forcing him to make the decision about whether or not to embrace his true self out in the open.

This is a sweet, but very TV-like in its execution film that will probably play best to younger viewers. The story rolls out exactly as you’d expect it to and the central conflict, while important and necessary for discussion, is approached in such a simple-minded manner that it’s hard to imagine that it would encourage any meaningful thought or introspection from the film’s target demographic – no matter their sexual persuasion. The film is clearly aspiring to be John Hughes-lite (the tenuous connection to The Breakfast Club is even addressed) but unfortunately it never manages to make that leap beyond something you might see on the Disney Channel.

Fortunately the film’s lead, Cameron Stewart–you might remember him from Pitch Perfect , is engaging enough to make Geography Club watchable and the titular club is peopled with kids that seem pretty true-to-life. If nothing else, Geography Club will definitely inspire you to want to check out the sure-to-even-better novel and anything that gets someone to pick up a book is a-ok by me.

Is Geography Club Inside Out Essential?

Definitely not essential viewing for adults but if you’re wanting to introduce some teens to the festival, this might just be the perfect entree.

Geography Club Screening Time

Geography Club Trailer

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