Goats is a coming-of-age tale about young Ellis Whitman (Graham Phillips) as he starts his freshman year at the same school his absent father (Ty Burrell) went to. He is black mailed into running cross-country after being caught smoking weed by the coach (Anthony Anderson). It’s a bad habit he got into thanks to the Goat-man (David Duchovny). Ultimately, most of the characters and sub-plots within this novel adaption are confusing and pointless.
For the most part one feels really sorry for Ellis, who has to parent his new-age, experimental spiritual mother (Vera Farmiga). She neglects all responsibility and has needy and irrational outbursts. It would seem that the only parental figure Ellis has is in the form of caveman looking pool-boy, Goat Man. They often go on trails with the goats that Goat Man supposedly trains for various purposes.
This ‘fatherly’ figure is entrusted by Ellis to keep an eye over his mother as he leaves Tuscon, a decision she doesn’t approve of. She fears he will become like his father. At the East Coast prep school, he shares a room with Yale enthusiast, Barney (Nicholas Lobue). Barney results to drinking, as his mother leaves him alone for long periods of time. Ellis and Barney bond by sharing stories of their broken homes.
Ellis eventually goes to meet his father’s new wife (Keri Russell), whom he reluctantly really likes and is surprised by the news that he will have a baby brother soon. Along the way he manages to get straight A’s at school and helps Barney who can barely pass a subject. Again he has to play parent. He doesn’t hear from his mother or Goat Man for the most part, until phones home and hears the voice of his mother’s new lover, who is bi-sexual and sponging off her.
A lot of what is said, or happens, in this film is irrelevant to the misguided storyline. If you are confused while reading this, then that is exactly how you will feel watching Goats.