By Erin Sanger | Drama
A 10-year-old tomboy weighs her loyalty to her older brother as she becomes complicit in a hate crime to win his affection.

10-year-old Daisy may have a feminine name, but she’s actually a tomboy who wants nothing to do with being a girl. Instead, she’d rather wear her older brother Jude’s clothing, use a Sharpie marker to cover the nail polish her mom makes her wear and hang out with Jude when he’s with his friends.

But one Fourth of July weekend, their mother goes out on a date, leaving brother and sister to their own devices at home. A pair of older teens lure Daisy and Jude out of the house for some hijinks, which leads to a moral quandary… and possible hate crime. Daisy must then weigh her loyalty to her brother, risk losing his affection and confront a truth about herself.

Director Erin Sanger’s beautifully introspective drama is a classic come-of-age tale, melding intelligent writing, powerful performances and poetic camerawork to bring us into the emotional journey of its young protagonist.

The title of the film may be fierce, but the approach is sensitive, finely observed and carefully constructed, able to capture the weight of emotion with a moment of silence or a simple glance. The film is built on a solid foundation of storytelling craft, but it really comes alive with its excellent performances, especially in a cast so young. Carefully charting the needs and wants of the main characters, the film slowly builds up to a powerful climax, made all the more engrossing by how much we’ve come to care for the characters in such a short time.

Many coming-of-age films focus on the journey between innocence and experience, and “Bombshell” — which was a Student Academy Award finalist — is no different, focusing on the evolving relationship between brother and sister as well as Daisy’s growing awareness of who she is and where she stands in the world. Daisy loves her brother deeply, and while she may play sidekick to her brother, she still lives with some bubble of safety and innocence. Her adventure in the outside world shatters this cocoon, but with its rupture, she also begins her journey towards self-discovery, leading her into adulthood.

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