Parents Alex (Claire Danes) and Greg (Jim Parsons) are just trying to do right by their son Jake (Leo James Davis) in the new movie A Kid Like Jake. The kid is just four years old but has for a while now shown more of an interest in princess movies and frilly dresses than anything else, interests they’ve indulged without concern because kids are going to be kids.
As they prepare to send him to school, though, the fact that he’s not like other young boys is about to become an issue in some way. There are some who think this isn’t just a phase he’ll eventually grow out of and may be a sign of, to use the modern parlance, gender nonconformity. Alex and Greg struggle with the responsibility of making a decision for their son that could impact his life.
Jake’s parents are getting him ready for school or some other sort of event or outing, which in this case includes making sure his jacket fits over the dress he’s wearing. They both look happy and supportive, as do the smiling faces at the bottom of the poster. Basically this is meant to present the story’s premise and set the audience up for what they can expect, which is unconventional in many regards.
The dominant theme of the trailer is not just Jake’s propensity for dressing in princess dresses and skirts but also the struggle Alex and Greg are undertaking in wanting to support their child but not make a mistake in one direction or another. They’ve been dealing with this for a while but now that Jake is entering school it’s all coming to a head as they want him to be himself but also don’t want him to be singled out but also don’t want to make decisions for him at such a young age that can’t be undone later on.
It’s an interesting trailer and one that certainly is meant to position the film as one that wants to participate in and spark discussions about gender identities as well as parental choices and the pressures that come with both.
Online and Social
Just the basic information about the cast and crew along with a synopsis and the trailer on the single page on IFC Films’ website. There were Facebook and Twitter profiles IFC set up to share promotions and other material.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’m aware of, though having visited the website I’m guessing I might see some retargeted ads in the near future.
Media and Publicity
The movie debuted at Sundance, though it didn’t receive a ton of critical buzz. Still, it was acquired by IFC Films shortly after the festival wrapped.
At the movie’s premiere the stars talked about what attracted them to the story and how they hoped to bring a sensitive conversation-starter free of moral judgments to audiences. Parsons hit some of those same points, along with what hesitations about the subject matter he worked to overcome, in a feature interview of his own.
Danes also did a few interviews like this one where she talked about why she got involved in the film and how the subject matter was much different than some of her other recent projects.
IFC has certainly done what it could to position the movie as being timely and relevant as well as respectful of the people for whom this really hits home. Parsons emerged as the biggest public face in the publicity campaign, which makes a certain amount of sense. All put together it’s a good campaign that may find some success with a niche audience not necessarily because of the subject matter but just because of the release pattern.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
Jim Parsons spoke more here about the gender identity issues and other elements of the story. And Claire Danes hit the late-night talk show circuit to talk about the movie.
Claire Danes has continued to do press for the film and talk about the issues raised in the story.