Geared toward the adolescent set (think Judy Blume), “Mukhsin” is a charmer displaying all the strengths and weaknesses of fast-rising helmer Yasmin Ahmad. Few filmmakers rep close-knit families better than she does, and with her usual core of thesps, she’s a master at breezy, warm-hearted and sexually open repartee. Integrating sideplots is still a challenge, but there’s little doubt that Ahmad will one day soon have a crossover hit on her hands. Until then, “Mukhsin’s” story of first love should do bang-up biz at home with a respectable showing at tween fests.
When 12-year-old Mukhsin (Muhammad Syafie bin Naswip) moves to town during school vacation, self-confident tomboy Orked (Sharifah Aryana Syed Zainal Rashid) takes him under her wing, and the two develop a bond fostered by her welcoming family. His home life, by contrast, is a mess, though Ahmad fails to develop this, and editing needs a hand. Pic is at its best when in the bosom of the family: Wry Sharifah Aleya Syed Zainal Rashid (real-life sis of the Orked actress but here playing her mom) is, as always, an unadulterated delight. Uneven sound needs some cleaning up.