“Mutants” is an incisive, small-scale first feature from Hungarian Film School graduate Katalin Godros. A sensitively made teenage road movie, pic is probably too modest to gain much attention, but it deserves TV programming and ancillary exposure, though suggestion of an intimate relationship between the 13-year-old heroine and her slightly older boyfriend might be a turnoff for more conservative viewers.
Paula, beautifully played by young Karoline Teska, lives with her mother and dreads the coming of summer vacation, when she has to go on a seaside holiday with her insensitive father. Jens (Jacob Matschenz), an older boy at Paula’s school, lost his parents in a car crash in France and is still angry and bitter about it. When he gets into trouble with the authorities and steals a car, Paula impulsively accompanies him on a journey to see the place where his parents died. Along the way, they meet an equally angry young Frenchwoman (Sabine Timoteo) whose sexual teasing of Jens provokes Paula into a jealous rage. The characters here are all too human, and their inhibitions and frustrations perfectly conveyed by the excellent young actors. Production values are tops.