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|aka Say When|
dir Lynn Shelton
scr Andrea Seigel
prd Kevin Scott Frakes, Steve Golin, Alix Madigan, Myles Nestel, Raj Brinder, Rosalie Swedlin
with Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Mark Webber, Jeff Garlin, Kaitlyn Dever, Ellie Kemper, Gretchen Mol, Daniel Zovatto, Jodi Thelen, Sara Coates, Dylan Arnold
release US 24.Oct.14, UK 7.Nov.14
Who's the grown-up? Moretz and Knightley
SUNDANCE FILM FEST
TORONTO FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Anchored by another lively, loose performance from Knightley (see also this year's Begin Again), this comedy-drama is warm and sometimes honest as it centres on a young woman who refuses to grow up. Yet while the film is consistently engaging, it's also contrived and predictable. As in her previous films, director Shelton takes a potentially provocative topic and ultimately plays it safe.
In Seattle, Megan (Knightley) is in her late-20s and bristling against the fact that her friends are settling down with spouses and children. When her boyfriend Anthony (Webber) proposes, just as she discovers that her dad (Garlin) has cheated on her mother, Megan runs away. After buying alcohol for teen Annika (Moretz) and her friends, Megan decided to hide out at Annika's house for a week to figure out what to do next. But Annika's single dad Craig (Rockwell) thinks this is more than a little strange.
Once this set-up is established, it's extremely obvious how the story will play out, but Knightley's effortless charm carries us through it, ably supported by Moretz, Rockwell and the relaxed, likeable bit players. The interaction often feels earthy and improvised, and the amusing set-pieces are carefully strung together in a script that feels constructed to push a message rather than tell a story.
Still, Shelton continues to demonstrate skill at giving her actors space to create lively performances even within a concocted premise that doesn't offer many surprises. None of these roles is particularly demanding, but there's an awkward, goofy energy to the film that makes it enjoyable, especially in the deliberately comical moments. By contrast the dramatic scenes feel preachy, although interjections of sarcasm and offbeat emotions help a lot.
The central theme is about taking control of and responsibility for your own life, working it out for yourself rather than just going with the flow. This isn't particularly revelatory, and the script takes a version of a 12-step programme to get to the end, as Megan endures an arrest, an amends-making moment and climactic scenes at both an airport and a prom. Even if these scenes tell us nothing we didn't already know, at least they're freshly well-played. But it would be nice to see Shelton just take her own advice next time and go with her gut.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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