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Kisses

Two Irish kids briefly escape their grim home lives in this bittersweet charmer

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Two 11-years-old -- Kylie (Kelly O'Neill) and Dylan (Shane Curry), each sporting the name of a pop star -- run away from their abusive families in a bleak Dublin suburb to spend the night in the city. Lance Daly's picaresque wee road movie (being kids, they only journey in from the 'burbs, but it may as well be 1,000 miles) is a bittersweet charmer. 

Their adventure begins when they hitch a ride into town with an immigrant boatman, who schools them in Bob Dylan. In the city center, they shop for new sneakers, harass buskers and look for young Dylan's older brother (himself a runway). Dublin, its streets lively at Christmas time, is a playground; later, after midnight, it's a place of dark, rainy alleys, hunger and menace.

Daly's dramedy is a successful mash-up of twinkly magic and profane grit, dark and light, strictures and possibilities. Similarly, the children are possessed of both fearless wonder (Kylie more so) and weary resignation. Over the course of the night, they sort out which of their childish fears and hopes are real -- and which are myths or pointless dreams to be retired like toys they've outgrown. Kisses ends not with a dollop of sentimentality, but with the perfect grace note -- the smirk of a child imbued with newfound knowledge. Starts Fri., Oct. 8. Harris

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