HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES (2018)


howtotalkto

Directed By: John Cameron Mitchell
Written By: John Cameron Mitchell & Philippa Goslett
Based on the Short Story Written By: Neil Gaiman
Cinematography By: Frank G. DeMarco
Editor: Brian A. Kates 


Cast: Alex Sharp, Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, Matt Lucas, Stephen Campbell Moore, Tom Brooke, Stephanie Hazel 


Suburban London in the late 70s. Under the spell of the Sex Pistols, every teenager in the country wants to be a punk, including our hopeless hero Enn. Hearing the local punk Queen Boadicea is throwing a party, Enn crashes the fun and discovers every horny boy’s dream; gorgeous foreign exchange students. When he meets the enigmatic Zan, it’s lust at first sight. But these girls have come a lot further than America. They are, in fact, aliens from another galaxy, sent to Earth to prepare for a mysterious rite of passage. When the dark secret behind the rite is revealed, our galaxy-crossed lover Enn must turn to Boadicea and her punk followers for help in order to save the alien he loves from certain death. The punks take on the aliens on the streets of London, and neither Enn nor Zan’s universe will ever be the same again.


If you are into strange, different films that defy convention. You will thoroughly enjoy this, A punk Rock comedy.

The film has plenty of style and experimentation going on throughout. There is nothing you have seen that is quite like it. It’s even strangely paced. As it goes along it feels continuously inventive. As truly anything can happen. Especially within the time Place it takes place in. The late 70’s early 80’s.

It’s a small story that turns back on itself constantly but seems to be bigger. That as long as you don’t look for answers you will enjoy it. It shows also that sometimes just by going with the flow it can lead to great adventures.

Considering how much of the film is built from the short story it is based on it’s quite a marvel. When the short story is so bare comparatively. While constantly wondering where it is going.

The film is never depressing nor quite decadent as it seems aimed at times.

Not many are going to like this film or even quite understand it but like punk it gives off an attitude with no real explanation but know that it is different as it seeks it more. While marching to it’s own beat with questionable sexuality that makes it seem mostly fluid but never quite graphic. Though allowing it to be open and acceptable no matter what.

You never quite know what is going on. You just watch. Not knowing if a stronger story would have helped. With it’s Experimental nature with meaning for it’s time and location. It clearly evokes the youthful spirit of wonder and chance. As well as awkwardness and alienation. That you can feel more in your youth.

The material is more adult but how it is filmed and produced seem more aimed at youth. Not exactly a fun ride but one that leaves your head spinning. As there is an energy and visual verve.

Elle Fanning truly shows her versatility and gives a quiet adventurous performance. That is quite endearing with precious moments that don’t quite feel precise nor out of place.

Nicole Kidman obviously is having fun in her over the top wardrobe and performances.

The film is colorful and artistic like a playhouse or fun room. Where you are a child open to imagination and fun while discovering new things, but the film never quite plays by any rules or makes exact sense but you want to keep running through it.

At heart this is a love story in the middle and being an outsider is fitting in as your tribe demands it as it has the same social uniform. The same can be said for musical elements standing up to authority and social constructs. Which fantasy/Science fiction allows through more outrageous proportions in which the extreme and subtlety states it’s case.

The film has strange bits of comedy that will probably be seen as quirky but everything seems to have meaning. As even satire is through humor pointed and strong.

This is the type of film you would expect Director John Cameron Mitchell to direct after starring in and directing HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH and SHORTBUS. With a detour with the more mainstream and penetrating drama RABBIT HOLE, With this film there are so many things to say and comment on but I will say if you are a fan of movies like LIQUID SKY this might be the movie for you.

This is a film you might want come to with some reservations. As if you are not a fan of off the wall this might not be for you. The title kind of implies the type of coming of age story to expect and how when young it can feel like talking to the opposite sex is like an alien language or talking to one.

Unfortunately here what you feel like is more a presentation as it feels like it has no real depth. There is no reasoning in try by to fill out the film. As there is very little story from where it is based on. Which leaves the rest of the film a free for all. Where the filmmakers try to fill with a punk aesthetic that seems more focused on image and style then a generalization of different interpretations.

Like it’s characters there is flash yet less exploration and reason which hurts the film as it leaves the main story and focus last. To more focus on flash and histrionics. That seems to be a celebration of imagination that shows very little or full creativity. That seems more like fun and a kind of dedication to youth and energy more than anything else.

In a way as the title implies. Her being alien getting used to her human body and seeming to be different and strange. Kind of shows as a metaphor for puberty and sexuality. Being so young and how it feels when he tries to communicate with her being so naturally shy and nervous around girls.

Grade: B-

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