Alex Wheeler (CLAIRE DANES) and her husband Greg (JIM PARSONS) are approaching a crossroads that is all too familiar to New York City parents – finding the “right” primary school for their son, Jake.
The story of a husband and wife struggling to do right by their son, A Kid Like Jake is a study of intimacy and parenthood and the fantasies that accompany both.
Greg is a therapist working to build a private practice, while Alex has put a law career on hold to devote herself full-time to raising her son, a precocious four-year-old who happens to prefer Disney princesses to G.I. Joe. Aware that Jake has the potential to be a candidate for a scholarship at a private school, Jake’s preschool director Judy (OCTAVIA SPENCER), a trusted friend of the family, encourages Alex to mention Jake’s “gender expansive” play in their applications. After all, Judy suggests, it’s a big part of who is, and these schools are looking for diversity. Besides, she asks Alex, doesn’t she want Jake to land somewhere he can really thrive?
Despite some initial misgivings, Alex and Greg take Judy’s advice. But as the process continues, Jake’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and perplexing, and the question of what’s really going on with Jake starts to create a rift between the two parents. Alex worries that the adults in Jake’s life are labeling him prematurely, while Greg wonders if Jake’s fondness for dress-up might be more than just a phase. The comments and opinions of Alex’s mother Catherine (ANN DOWD) and single friend Amal (PRIYANKA CHOPRA) only contribute to the noise, and pretty soon it seems like everyone in Jake’s life has something to say about him. As they struggle to navigate their roles as parents, Alex and Greg begin to see that they are not only confronting their concerns about what’s best for Jake, but also trying to save the bond they have with each other.