Rating: 3 out of 5.

Icon is a decidedly different brand of romance/drama. While the story itself is nothing we have not seen before, the passion and talent assembled behind the camera is clear as day. Writer/director Tony Ahedo crafts his feature film debut into a vibrant coming-of-age indie. The film is partially a romance, and deals with how one young couple handles the news of their pregnancy. I may not be convinced Icon has a lot to say we have not already seen before from this genre, but it is nonetheless an entertaining, well-crafted movie.

A ripped skater boi, Sam (Parker Padgett), and his new girlfriend, ambitious Ana (Devon Hales), face their first real relationship test shortly after having sex in Sam’s car: pregnancy! Suddenly faced with an uncertain future, both are concerned with how a potential baby could affect their life’s trajectory. The couple have only just barely become official before this, and Ana in particular is worried about college prospects. Meanwhile, this whole affair sets off something of an existential crisis within Sam. Is there a way for the couple to forge forward into a life together as a cute little family?

The constant use of flashbacks to portray Sam’s dreamlike recollection of his father’s presence when he was younger serves to flesh out his character, whilst Ana’s remains a bit flimsy throughout. Sam’s dad was locked up when he was little and has remained behind bars ever since. Even his mom won’t discuss the man, insisting that Sam’s father was “just a sperm donor.” The memories Sam has within him though tell a different story. Can he be a better dad than the absentee one he was given? In a way, Sam idolizes his dad and wishes he could visit, but his mom basically forbids this from happening.

Ultimately, Icon is a quaint and meaningful movie, if predictable and narratively slight. The major conflicts of the movie involve the pregnancy, Sam taking drug-dealing work with a volatile kingpin, and Sam coming to terms with his own deep-seated feelings about his childhood trauma. It is a shame Ana took a backseat to Sam from a character perspective; thankfully, Parker Padgett is still able to rise to greatness as Sam. Acting performances from all involved are effective, showcasing fully-rounded character work and emotionality. I don’t forsee Icon nabbing any trophies for originality, but as an indie coming-of-age feature, one could do much worse.

Icon screened at the 2022 Sunscreen Film Festival, and brings a positive test result soon to audiences everywhere.

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