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Dakota Fanning plays Lewellen, a preteen Elvis fangirl living in the Deep South during The Fifties. The movie she inhabits is a Slice of Life Coming of Age Story. The other main characters include her careless father Lou, her religious psycho grandmother, her playmate Buddy, local Magical Negro Charles, and mini-Southern Belle Grasshopper. What little plot there is centers on Lewellen's desire to see Elvis perform in person.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Lou shoots Lewellen's dog because it barked too much.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Lewellen's father gets struck by lightning and her grandmother believes it's this trope at work. And clearly God did it to punish Lewellen and not her father.
  • Break the Cutie: Lewellen's life basically sucks worse and worse as the movie goes along.
  • The Caretaker: Lewellen becomes this for her father after he's hit by lightning.
  • Children Are Innocent: Subverted with Buddy, who unwittingly helps lure Lewellen into Wooden's Boy's clutches, then fails to help Lewellen or tell any adults after the rape. To boot, when Wooden Boy gives him Elvis tickets, he takes Grasshopper to the concert instead of Lewellen.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Covered Up: Noted in-universe. Lewellen is surprised to discover "Hound Dog" wasn't originated by her beloved Elvis.
  • Death by Despair: Nearly. Lewellen is so depressed after the rape that it causes her to get very sick and almost die.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Lewellen is barefoot for the whole movie. Given the time period and her family's financial situation, it's likely she simply doesn't own any shoes.
  • The Fundamentalist: Lewellen's grandmother.
  • I Have No Son: "My daughter is dead."
  • Innocence Lost: Buddy, thanks to Wooden's Boy's influence.
  • Karma Houdini: Wooden's Boy, who is never held accountable for raping Lewellen.
  • Kick the Dog: Wooden's Boy not only rapes Lewellen, but he also taunts her mentally disabled father one night when Lou wanders off.
    • Given that Lou shot Lewellen's dog earlier in the movie, this could also be interpreted as a Kick the Son of a Bitch moment.
  • Lured Into a Trap: Wooden's Boy has Buddy lure Lewellen into a shed with the promise of Elvis tickets.
  • Magical Negro: Charles, perhaps the only character, other than Lewellen, who is not a Jerkass to at least some degree.
  • The New Rock and Roll: The Trope Namer is viewed as the "devil's music" by some characters, most notably Lewellen's grandmother.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Lou and Ellen.
  • Parental Substitute: Ellen, until she runs off. Fortunately, she returns for Lewellen at the end of the film.
  • Playing Doctor: Lewellen and Buddy in the opening scene.
  • Raised by Grandparents: After Lou is struck by lightning and rendered mentally disabled, Lewellen's grandmother becomes the parental figure in her life.
  • Rape as Drama: The part of the film you've heard of.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: After the rape, when Lewellen plunges into a deep depression, she hallucinates that she is surrounded by snakes.
  • Squee: Lewellen's reaction to Elvis-related things.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Wooden's Boy.
  • Titled After the Song: And boy do we get to hear that song a lot
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Lewellen is seen smoking and drinking. This is apparently normal for her.
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