It's a tough world out there, but one young star has done her best to make sure that her voice is used to speak out about societal problems that are important to her: It seems that Hunger Games actor Amandla Stenberg won't sit quietly when she has a platform that could be used to bring about change: Stenberg is an activist as well as an actor, and has been vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement, cultural appropriation, and feminism. She's also been open about how she identifies as bisexual, as well as her non-binary gender identity (she chooses to use female pronouns, according to KitschMix). As someone who isn't afraid of tackling controversial issues and illuminating them, it makes sense that Stenberg's new movie As You Are is doing the same thing.
The film, which was nominated for the grand jury prize at Sundance in Jan. 2016 and which a trailer was released for on Wednesday, tackles the story of a relationship between three friends, who, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "form a bond that is tested and maybe untethered while living in a small town." The film is set in the '90s — it's named after the Nirvana song "Come As You Are" — also seems to tackle something else: sexuality, and the complicated nature of it. The friends consist of two boys and Stenberg's character, the former of which seem to have a burgeoning romance — or perhaps something even more complicated. "I'm going to teach you to kiss," says Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton's character Mark to Owen Campbell's Jack. Later, when Mark's father is asked about their relationship, he says there isn't anything to tell — only to see Mark getting hit by his father in the next scene.
Though the trailer is cloaked in mystery, there certainly seems to be something romantic brewing with Mark and Jack, and the secret nature of the romance suggests that, sadly, not everyone in the film will be OK with that. The trailer's teased violent ending is disturbing, given the subject matter — might the film be making a point about how lack of acceptance of LGBTQ relationships can lead to violence?
If that's the case, it makes sense for Stenberg to have chosen this movie as her new project. Films can get the point across just as well as words, and as an advocate for LGBTQ rights and acceptance. As You Are may be making surprising points, cloaked in a coming of age drama, and Stenberg is one actor who has the passion to tackle that.