Written & Directed By: Kelly Fremon Craig
Cinematography By: Doug Emmett
Editor: Tracy Wadmore-Smith
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Kyra Sedgwick, Woody Harrelson, Hayden Szeto, Meredith Monroe
Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine, who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian starts dating her best friend Krista. All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever, until the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be so terrible after all.
I personally am a sucker for coming of age films. So this movie of course I knew I was going to love. The film doesn’t disappoint. Like most teens going through problems you know how universal the situations and emotions are and going to play itself out. So while the movie is predictable to a degree of you are a fan of films of this genre. it keeps up interest.
I used to believe that the more emotional the coming of age film the more powerful and better the film might be. This one connects with the audience. Though doesn’t put you through much of an emotional ringer but still feels true. As the film is not as serious and full of dire social issues
It keeps your interest none the less due to the characters and the actors. No of them look polished like actors or model perfect playing small town normal folk. Also luckily in casting you believe all the actors playing teenagers the that age.
This is a coming of age film and showcases the characters learning to grow up and be adults to find their way through life. The film also showcases some adult characters doing the same.
The film feels authentic. As the film doesn’t have any of the issues be life or death. It might feel that way for some of the characters. So it has that general over reaction to things but also that sense of making mistakes that can still be fixed. Learning From them. So while you watch with amusement it is a reminder of how small things can grow out of proportion. Also the ways in which you can render them down. So the film keeps you engaged.
The main character has problems but seems more self induced more than anything else. As the film had her Constantly Dealing with issues and learning not to make or take everything as personal. Having her open her eyes and recognizing others have problems just as she does. That half the time Nothing is done as an attack on her personally. All the time she is feeling Emotional and rejected. She is guilty of ding the same things to others.
That maybe if she tried a bit more. She might find someone she actually has things in common with. Rather than thinking she is above them or better to a degree.
Hailee Steinfeld’s character really is the one who causes her problems to a degree. Offering an ultimatum And it having the effect of almost a romantic break up. The character isn’t perfect she is shallow to a degree which she complains about from other characters as she decides she is an expert makes everything about her and talks too much
The film presents No one as really one note or a complete villain. As even the characters who might have been usually easy to write off. We are offered to be open to their points of view.
The film offers a Strong impressive performance from Hailee Steinfeld. Who is an actress whose movies I have watched that she has appeared in and never found anything wrong with any of her performances, but this is the first time where she has really impressed me with her performance. Woody Harrelson is hilarious though it feels like he is not in the movie enough. As the cynical voice of reason of sorts.
Kyra Sedgwick is sexy and has the best role I have seen her in, in a while and her character is still forming trying to do what she can to help her children and herself. Though it is easy to see where the kids might get their dramatic and self absorbed traits at times. Other than just being teenagers. She’s not a bad mom and means well but is misunderstood and places blame and responsibilities on others a little too much.
The film even offers the lead an Asian love interest played winningly by Hayden Szeto Who is not smooth and is usually nervous all the time. Which is a bit different and more open minded in terms of casting.
While it is not this films fault that usually with one minority member in the cast. you will hardly see any other throughout, but keeps up the trend with a family noticeably and conveniently absent. Which is explained as to why he might be even more socially inept as he appears to be alone most of the time. Though doesn’t require too much probing or extra screen time for him either. Though I make this point I am not trying to fault the movie as that is not what it is about. Just making a point about trends in casting.
Problems are solved but instead of tied together in a bow. We see the seeds planted but aren’t there to see them grow but know what will most likely happen
The film is funny more from human behavior and mistakes rather then Invented humor that makes little to no sense or leaving the characters making Decisions that only happen as the script requires it
The film might remind the audience of JUNO more for it’s humor and spunky attitude. Yes maybe even because that Is one of the last few female centered coming of age stories. Though this film never seems as totally and situationally serious as that film. Nor does it seem to have a language of it’s Own.