New films: Aoife McArdle's Kissing Candice, Trudie Styler's Freak Show

Ann Skelly in Omagh director Aoife McArdle's Kissing Candice
Damon Smith

KISSING CANDICE (15, 108 mins) Drama / Crime. Ann Skelly, Ryan Lincoln Ryan Lincoln, Conall Keating, Ryan McParland, Caitriona Ennis, John Lynch, Tony Doyle. Director: Aoife McArdle

SHOT on location in Dublin, Louth and Wicklow, Kissing Candice is a coming-of-age story directed by Omagh film-maker Aoife McArdle, told through the eyes of a disillusioned 17-year-old girl, who yearns to escape the ebb and flow of her coastal community.

Candice (Ann Skelly) is the daughter of a world-weary police officer (John Lynch), who knows only too well the dangers that lurk outside their town. He is protective of Candice, who has epilepsy and suffers occasional fits.

In her mind, the teenager conjures an imaginary boyfriend (Ryan Lincoln) and spookily, the very same lad materialises in the form of Jacob, a member of a gang of violent delinquents.

Jacob breaks rank to rescue Candice from a brutal assault at the hands of his buddies, and he too becomes an outsider in a world where booze and drugs offer temporary release from the misery.

Candice's infatuation with Jacob puts her in jeopardy but she ignores her father's warnings and anchors herself to her handsome beau.

FREAK SHOW (12A, 91 mins) Drama. Abigail Breslin, AnnaSophia Robb, Alex Lawther, Laverne Cox, Bette Midler. Director: Trudie Styler

ADAPTED for the screen by Beth Rigazio and Patrick J Clifton from the novel by James St James, Freak Show is a colourful portrait of adolescent angst and wilful rebellion, which marks the directorial debut of Trudie Styler, who is married to pop star Sting.

Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) is an openly gay, gender-bending teenager with a closet crammed to bursting with expensive drag outfits and a sassy attitude to match.

When his mother Mauvine (Bette Midler) is forced to attend rehab, Billy is rudely transplanted from Darien, Connecticut, to the south to live with his father William (Larry Pine) in a Bible-thumping community rife with intolerance and homophobia.

Billy enrols at the local high school where his flamboyant dress style incurs the wrath of homecoming queen Lynette (Abigail Breslin) and her clucky coterie.

Thankfully, one quietly spoken girl (AnnaSophia Robb) befriends Billy, dazzled by his fabulousness, and he also finds an unlikely ally and protector in handsome football jock Flip Kelly (Ian Nelson).

Together, they navigate the emotional highs and lows of the hormone-addled academic year.

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