TJ Waggs, a high school student living in the small town of Buhl, Idaho, carries the burden of a terrible secret on his shoulders. And he's not the only one having an off-day: A local fish farmer confronts a selfish neighbor that has carelessly poisoned his crop, the shifty county sheriff neglects his duties and uses his patrol car for his own personal gain, and a mom is too busy fussing over the family dog to notice her missing daughter. To make matters worse, two preschoolers playing in the fields have chosen an unusual playmate—one who is the common thread linking all these characters together.
Writer-director Jaffe Zinn's atmospheric vision is a ruminative look at a bored and numbed town on the verge of a wake-up call. His keen voice also speaks profoundly to the disconnection of community and the decline of morale in a struggling recession-worn American society. Paced and shot with restrained elegance, highlighting a standout performance by rising talent Kyle Gallner, Zinn's Magic Valley strives to capture who and where we are before the next defining moment happens.