Aboard the Carousel was filmed on a micro-budget with director Kevin McMullin's friends and family as actors and crew members. It's cute. It's romantic. Romantic in a sort of middle school type way.
Aboard the Carousel starts with the promiscuous Daphne stealing her younger brother Vincent's art tutor Alex away from him. Alex is kind of shy - the artist type that hasn't been around much. Without announcing it Daphne decides Alex will be her summer project - teaching him the ways of intimacy. He's cute enough for her to use as a new plaything.
This doesn't sit well with Vincent who has seen the ways Daphne works with men. You can tell just from the opening sequence that Vincent and Alex have a special thing going on. Meanwhile Vincent is working his summer landscaping job with two other boys who are slightly older and just getting their first taste of summer love. Their boss Leo plays the part of head coach, trying to explain the ins and outs to the world of dating.
All of the characters and the way they play off of each other reminds me of me when I was that age. Leo - the boss giving teenage kids sexual advice, that's totally my uncle Rich. Any of the younger boys could have been me. When Vincent starts developing a crush on Leo's girlfriend - that's totally me. I even got the kiss to prove it.
Although the romance between Daphne and Alex takes center stage in this film - the heart and soul comes from the teenage summer love story. They have no idea what they're doing and it's so beautiful. Nostalgia takes over. What fun times those were, finding your way in a new world that has somehow, overnight, been revealed to you.
It makes you feel even more for Alex because the way Daphne is portrayed he's bound to get hurt.
Along with the simply well done story, this film has some beautiful shots and an equally beautiful soundtrack that ties it all together. You can ride this carousel for a little over an hour. The only real disappointment is that it stops.
-Brent Houzenga is an artist in New Orleans.