It is not the typical independent film about teenagers even if the first minutes of the film may indicate otherwise. Teens have spots, don’t look like models, they are real and it feels good. The fact that you can identify with them takes us from the start.
The director has perfectly recreated the first love and the first break-up, with complex characters in particular Sutter (the main character) played by Miles Teller who is excellent. He also won a Best Interpretation Award at Sundance for this role with the lead actress Shailene Woodley (The Descendants ).She is announced to be the one that dethrone Jennifer Lawrence as the Hollywood Queen with her upcoming film “Divergent” , which looks suspiciously like The Hunger Games. This beautiful cast is completed by Jennifer Janet Leigh (eXistenZ) and Kyle Chandler who is everywhere at the moment.
What is nice here, is that we find the codes indie film: a quiet suburb ( which happens to be the hometown of director) family problems , a nice music … But these codes are not used to evoke emotion and obtain the audience adherence. The music is not in fashion and the characters are not overly “cool” . The screenplay (by the writers of “500 days of summer”) was actually nominated for Independent Spirit Awards. We think we know what will happen : sometimes it works and other times we are truly surprised by the plot and know that the director is amused by this. There is a particular scene where Sutter offers a gift to his prom date that takes everyone by surprise.
This film deals with the hard time of being a teenager and also a adult, the complexity of our relationship with our parents, with ourselves, the alcohol problem with young people, treated with modesty and subtlety that makes the story very touching. This is a nice, unpretentious but effective movie.
Made with little budget (for an American film ) $ 2.5 million , you can sometimes notice some flaws (whether sound or perspective of the plot), but who cares. The film is not particularly striking or shocking but managed the challenge to deal with a subject that has been seen and reviewed a thousand times in cinema. It still manages to be inventive and surprising and for that alone, it is a movie worth seeing.