Tony Ahedo’s debut feature Icon, which premiered at Cinequest Film Festival in March and closed out the Florida Film Festival in April, contains far more than a story about an unplanned teenage pregnancy. Aside from the regular adolescent drama, Icon grapples with the difficulties of life, the complexities of living, and how to continue on the right path with intensity and raw authenticity. Told through the perspective of a tumultuous teen mind, the film guarantees an emotional rollercoaster, one that will bring you through the highs and lows, but one that will also ensure you emerge with a new outlook on life.
Young Love in Icon
A feeling many have experienced and yearn to experience once again, young love cannot be revisited, as it can only prosper in innocence and youth. As we see in Icon, young love is pure, pristine, and sweet but also impulsive, confusing, and challenging.
The film opens with the whirlwind summer romance of high school students Sam (Parker Padgett) and Ana (Devon Hales). When Ana discovers she is pregnant, their picture-perfect romance is struck by a heavy hammer of reality.
Sam and Ana are instantly faced with teenage parenthood, financial burdens, and a ticking clock. However united a front they may seem to have, problems are bound to arise. As they struggle together and apart, Sam straying away to fill in parts of his personal puzzle and Ana to realize what she truly desires in life, they eventually find their way back to one another, still somewhat uncertain, yet stronger than ever.
Family and Father(hood)
Although Icon is set up to be about a teenage pregnancy and its implications, the central drama largely revolves around Sam, a young boy coming to terms with his life as he grapples with unanswered questions of his past. Sam is searching for the missing pieces of his father in his life, just as he is about to potentially become a father himself.
Throughout the film, we see Sam looking for his father (Tony Demil), searching through the endearing memories he carries in his heart as we see glimpses of father and son sharing joyful moments in time. However, it soon becomes apparent that those moments do not depict the whole story.
As Sam is overwhelmed by his circumstances and emotions, he begins falling down a rabbit hole, getting involved with drugs, violence, and guns. After the audience learns that Sam’s father is imprisoned for armed robbery, we see Sam going down a similar path of degeneration, repeating his father’s mistakes and entering a cycle of self-destruction.
While Sam idolizes his father through abridged memories of the past, he begins shutting out his adoring mother (Julia Denton). He resents her from keeping him away from his father, for being overly protective, for all the little things he later understands are what made him the man he is today.
The Circle of Life
When Sam finally visits his father in prison, the illusions through which he viewed the older man quickly dissolve. Looking at the man he once idolized through a thick layer of glass, he finally sees that he was painting a perfect image in his mind—one that has deviated too far away from reality.
Sam eventually comes to terms with his past and present, enabling himself to truly look toward the future and contemplate how he wants to continue on with his journey. He opens his eyes to the one person who has truly been there for him through thick and thin—his mother. Indeed, distance makes the heart grow fonder, as we tend to take those closest to us for granted, but after a long and rough journey outward, Sam’s ultimate epiphany is that what he sought all this time was already with him. He attains his long-desired peace, choosing to carry on with those he loves.
Icon depicts the circle of life. Through births and rebirths, literal and symbolic, we see new life appear in every form. As generations and families come together, interweaving into one another’s lives, the film presents life’s fragile yet resilient nature. Icon may seem like a typical coming-of-age story, but it is one that will make you contemplate life, death, and everything in-between.