A reclusive teenage farmboy finds an unlikely source of inspiration to stand-up against his overbearing father.
18-year-old Elliot lives and works on a small family-owned New Zealand dairy farm. He meanders out at dawn towards a herd of feeding cows where his attempt to take the wheel for the morning’s feed-out run is quickly overruled by his overbearing father. Elliot’s resentment grows with his increasingly apparent lack of autonomy and respect on the farm. A routine grocery trip sees Elliot bump into Laura, an enigmatic checkout operator and love interest, who pockets Elliot a pouch of tobacco on the sly, directing him to collect her later on that afternoon.
Elliots ponders a solution to his predicament, having commited to both an afternoon of work and a meet-up with Laura. Concocting a scheme to feign a trip to help his grandmother, he sneaks off to pick up Laura from work. Elliot and Laura spend the afternoon together and ultimately end up back at her place, sipping gin alone in her room. They’re quickly busted by an unannounced arrival by John, Elliot’s father. After begrudgingly shadowing his father out to the car, Elliot finds inspiration in Laura’s audacious nature and finds a new voice to confront his father in a doorstep stand-off.
Elliot returns home later that night expecting the worst, only to find the house empty and luke-warm leftovers awaiting him on the kitchen bench. He notices an unusual banging sound from a distant shed and heads out to investigate. He arrives to the sight of his father struggling to heave machinery too heavy for a man of his age and stature. Without more than a mumble, Elliot lends a hand and shoves the trailer onto it’s spot, his monosybilic father musters an unusually soft-spoken thank you under his breath. They both make for the car after a moment of silence but this time John makes for the passenger side door; Elliot takes the wheel. Thicket is ultmately a rural coming-of-age story about the fragility of paternal relationships and the desire for autonomy as we become young adults.