Jess + Moss | Chicago Reader

Jess + Moss

Small, quiet, and enveloping, this impressive debut feature by Clay Jeter examines the fond friendship between two abandoned children: 18-year-old Jess (Sarah Hagan), whose mother sends her cassette tapes promising to come back and collect her from her father someday, and 12-year-old Moss (Austin Vickers), Jess's second cousin, whose parents left him with her family so long ago he can barely remember them. The story unfolds over one verdant summer in the 1970s and was shot in western Kentucky on a tobacco farm that belongs to Jeter's family, yet the kids seem almost removed from time and locale, sealed in a hermetic world of junk, kudzu, and sunshine. "You're out of high school and you're running around here like you're ten," Moss observes, pointing out the age difference that places them at opposite ends of a sexual divide and turns their deep feeling for each other into something painful and complicated.

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