The Year That Trembled | Chicago Reader

The Year That Trembled

Writer-director Jay Craven adapted this indie feature from a novel by Scott Lax about the 1970 Kent State shootings and their aftermath, tracing the lives of many students as well as a local high school teacher (Marin Hinkle) who loses her job as a result of her antiwar activism. There are moments of awkward exposition, choppy continuity, and long-windedness, yet the overall feeling for the period is just right, and the performances are highly affecting, with old hands like Henry Gibson, Fred Willard, and Martin Mull interacting with younger players as deftly as the fictional story with the archival footage. This is more believable than most depictions of the period because the politics are informed by historical reflection; prompted by his own research, Craven changes one of Lax's major characters into an agent provocateur on campus. With Jonathan Woodward, Charlie Finn, Lucas Ford, Sean Nelson, Jonathan Brandis, and Kiera Chaplin (granddaughter of Charlie). 104 min.

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