Directed By: Lynn Shelton
Written By: Andrea Seigel
Cinematography By: Benjamin Kasulke
Editor: Nat Sanders
Cast: Keira Knightly, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber, Gretchen Mol, Daniel Zovatto, Sara Coates, Kaitlyn Dever
Megan’s approaching 30 with a good degree and a boyfriend in hand, but when he proposes at her friend’s wedding and everyone seems to think that the best way to advance in her career is to take a seminar where you find out what animal you are, Megan’s understandably feeling lost. After meeting teenagers who want her to buy them beer, Megan is drawn into 16-year-old Annika’s simpler life. She ends up moving in with Annika and her single father, juggling the life of a teen and that of an adult, two romantic interests, and the feeling of lagging behind.
This film is strange for fans of Director Lynn Shelton. Not only is this the first time she is working with a script written by someone else. It also seems to be her most mainstream directing effort so far and while the film stays in the perimeters of most of her work feeling more like it is coming from a more organic place. It is also the most impersonal of her films.
It hits all the right notes yet feels like it is keeping you at a distance. It is more a slice of life then a story.
Though the film is perfectly serviceable it feels shockingly light weight. Especially for such emotional subject matter that chooses to wade in the reality, but rely more on humor to deal with it’s situations and deliver it’s results. Luckily the film doesn’t delve into melodrama too often.
That makes the film not feel special. While having the goods to be something special or at least moves then it shows here. I’m not saying it’s a bad film. It just feels like it has so much to say, but by it’s own design is muted to a degree. Or chooses not to dig to deep while approaching it’s matter.
Which is shocking especially as it is coming from a director who has made quirky yet outspoken (to a degree) films before. This one feels too compartmentalized and twee. The film feels like it is offering too much surface with little to no real introspection.
Keira Knightly slips into her role with ease. She doesn’t dig deep as neither does her character for the most part and only seems to hangs as the script more demands that she do so. Staying as shallow. Then as she grows so does the film begrudgingly. It’s shocking to find out Anne Hathaway was originally cast and dropped out when her schedule couldn’t mesh with the film. It’s surprising that Knightly was her replacement as this role seems to more benefit her. It is a role she can look back with pride upon Rebecca Hall turned down the lead role to star in Transcendence
I prefer not to speak badly of independent films. That have a hard enough time finding an audience in the first place. These films already have so much to combat they don’t need a harsh or disconcerting word of mouth.
The film isn’t terrible or dogs deeper than some studio films would allow, but just feels too neat set-up. Making it feel average than anything else. There is nothing wrong with that. Though nothing to shout about from the hills either.