Like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
, except with child abuse, prostitution, and other social ills, this sprightly Irish drama follows two preteens as they escape from their violent homes in poverty-stricken suburban Dublin and go wild in the big city. Avoiding the clichés of gritty realism, director Lance Daly prefers a more stylish and fantastical approach, going from bleak black and white to color and playing up the whimsy of the kids’ adventures. But amid the boat rides, car chases, and ice skating, Kisses
never loses sight of its source material: This is a story about the downtrodden and their wish to overcome.