What lifts "Terri" above its peers is not the plight of its protagonist or the film's sympathy for him, but rather the care and craft that the director, Azazel Jacobs, has brought to fairly conventional material.
An overweight loner, a goofy sidekick, the school siren -- you can write the script yourself, all about an insecure teenager adrift in a sea of adolescent anguish, blahblahblah. And yet, that's not quite what happens.
Jacobs and talented cinematographer Tobias Datum once again do a deft job conveying the texture of a home, this time the unkempt, jammed warren Terri shares with his Uncle James.
Jacobs deftly handles the story's many moods, painting a picture of youth as a crazy, tragicomic time when even a wounded caregiver can make a world of difference.