A fairy tale of runaway rebellion and survival emerges from the Texas dust in writer-director Laurie Weltz’s “About Scout.” The film is a mother-daughter collaboration, as Weltz’s daughter, India Ennenga, contributes the story and stars as Scout, a winsome slip of a pink-haired girl tasked with mothering her younger sister, Lulu (Onata Aprile).
Scout has developed an arsenal of clever schemes for snatching the things she needs — food, shelter, protection. She’s been dealt a bum hand in life — their dad’s a carny with a pregnant, religious, meth-head girlfriend (Nikki Reed), and all that remains of mom is the memory of a junkie. The girls live with their invalid great-grandmother (Ellen Burstyn), but Child Protective Services has taken an interest.
When Dad picks up Lulu to cash in on the welfare checks, Scout hits the road with Sam (James Frecheville), a suicidal young man from a local mental institution, for a “Bonnie and Clyde"-like crime spree and little sister rescue mission. The film is most interesting when exploring Scout’s preternaturally cunning tactics for car stealing, hotel sneaking and food snatching.
They make a fine pair of traveling partners, Sam with nothing to live for and Scout with nothing to lose. Ennenga carries the picture with a relaxed magnetism and is supported by the supporting starry cast, including Danny Glover and Jane Seymour. “About Scout” is a fantasy of escape rooted in the harshly lit realities of life.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood