Fantasia Festival 2019: Paradise Hills (2019)

Paradise Hills (2019)

Paradise Hills

Director: Alice Waddington

Cast: Emma Roberts, Eiza Gonzalez, Danielle Macdonald, Awkwafina, Milla Jovovich, Jeremy Irvine

Paradise Hills is a 2019 American-Spanish science fiction fantasy film about girls put in a mysterious boarding school located on an island to be reformed into the women that others surrounding them want them to be.

Set in a dystopian future with flying cars and higher and lower society mentality, Paradise Hills is deeply grounded in its fantasy roots. The reform island that Uma (Emma Roberts) ends up is one that is a culmination of fairy tales. Apart from the room where she wakes up which is dark and fake, her first walk through the grounds is one that is full of pastel colors and resembles an Alice in Wonderland parallel, especially as the darker themes and there is a deeper knowledge of surrounding and different areas. Every new territory she discovers is both fantastical and mysterious. Filmed in Spain and Canary Islands, the location itself is captivating as a backdrop.

As she forms her sisterhood bonds with Amarna (Eiza Gonzalez), Chloe (Danielle Macdonald) and Yu (Awkwafina), Uma’s two week stay starts to settle in easier, even if she is still resistant to be changed into the girl that is desired by others. While Uma is a main character here and she has done similar roles like this in other indie films before, this one feels very complete. It also has to do with the actresses around her, Eiza Gonazalez, Danielle Macdonald and Awkwafina all portray different types of girls who live around people with different expectations and a varying level of accepting the situation that they are in despite the fact they can be seen as the rebels.

When faced with a passive-aggressive “headmistress”, The Duchess (Milla Jovovich), the conflicts between her and the four girls create tension and friction. Milla Jovovich has played a few roles of strong women and while a lot of her movies, such as Resident Evil has its cult following, The Duchess is one that shows off a lot of depth in the character. She commands each scene as The Duchess. Her costumes and her character design as a whole portray a powerful woman while her dialogue gives her a lot of manipulative and coersive nature, emphasizing her place. Her character is mysterious and cryptic at times but it all adds layers.

Adapted from the screen story by the director Alice Waddington herself and the script co-written by Nacho Vigalondo, who also wrote Colossal, Paradise Hills is one that executes the story it tells very well. It has a surface layer that is enjoyable to watch, especially in its visuals: costume, camera angles and the ambiance.  It never rushes to reveal too much too quickly and only hints and builds up its tension both as the characters discover more mysteries and search for their answers and the urgency to escape their uneasy situation. At the same time, it gives enough detail to keep the final act a lot of surprises, truly succeeding at making this an impressive thriller especially in the hands of a debut director.

Nerve (2016)

In a serious effort to catch up with 2016 movies, although not exactly Oscar nominees, Nerve came onto my radar with its discounted rental price at the Google Play store. I’m a fan of Emma Roberts. In fact, I haven’t seen many movies of hers that I disliked so I’m pretty confident that I’ll like it plus the plot looks something right up my alley.

Let’s check it out!

Nerve (2016)

nerve

Director: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman

Cast: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Machine Gun Kelly, Miles Heizer, Juliette Lewis, Kimiko Glenn,

A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.”-IMDB

The world of games and reality are not unfamiliar territory and the world Nerve actually feels quite authentic in the most high stakes way. Nerve is a game of truth and dare set by an anonymous group of watchers which set around a set of rules to get to the finals with each dare being more and more risky. Nerve isn’t only a game but a server that hides its watchers behind the screen. Perhaps the side message to get from this game extends to one about cyberbullying and how easy it is to be anonymous behind a computer screen and cause irreparable harm and not have regards for the consequences while also manipulating its players for money, sometimes a lot of money. But then, you can’t clap with one hand. The players’ greed or inner satisfaction or adrenaline rush also pushes them to follow through. The game itself is set up in a believable way, depending on what crazy things you would believe others to do. Nerve is everywhere on the community and perhaps that makes it even more compelling as the directors shoot this film in a mesmerizing way, blending in colors to aid the tone, keeping it fun and dangerous and mysterious, and also using the camera angles that remind us that we are also a watcher as we follow primarily Vee and Ian on their Nerve team-up to the top.

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One of the best parts of Nerve starts when we meet Vee and learn about her fears and how she really doesn’t stand up for herself or do anything for herself. All this leads to her jumping into Nerve and choosing to be a player. The first task leads her to kiss a stranger or we soon learn isn’t really one because said stranger, played by Dave Franco is Ian who had instructions to be there. See the manipulation already? However, they are asked to team-up on each of their dares amd as the movie progresses, they have a much deeper connection. Except what also starts out fun turns out to be even more chaotic. Emma Roberts and Dave Franco were great in Nerve. They embraced their role perfectly whether in the silly fun parts to the more dangerous bits, there is a great connection between them that makes it authentic and work.

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There are some little parts in this one that I’m not sure works well. For one, there isn’t a fleshed out enough devotion to the side characters. The supporting cast themselves consists of a few roles. One which is done well although used in a very convenient way is Vee’s hobby hacker friend (who also seems to have a crush on her), Tommy (Miles Heizer). Tommy is a key character because without reliable and loyal friends, its hard to have progressed. Plus, he has a skill set and connections that helps. Other than him, there is Sydney (Emily Meade) who is the one who introduces Nerve to Vee and also a good friend who always wants attention and is also a player who likes to push the limits. However, what falls apart a little is the predictable conflict between Sydney and Vee. I can see how it contributes to the story especially as we step into the third act but secretly, a part of me wanted the story to be focusing on Vee and Ian and the whole Nerve issue because it didn’t feel like there was a bigger purpose. This is really the only issue I had with the movie. On the side, there was also two supporting characters which are familiar faces from Orange is the New Black who are incredibly likeable as well. They  are one of the other friends, Liv (Kimiko Glen) in Vee’s group which follows Sydney around mostly as a watcher and outside from the scene is Tommy’s friend, Hacker Kween (Samira Wiley). Finally, wildly underused is one of the somewhat “villainous” characters that show up everywhere is TJ (Machine Gun Kelly). If there was something else that should be more fleshed out would be his character who mysteriously pops up here and there but somehow has more significance in the end but never enough to make us really care.

Nerve

Nerve is a really good movie. I have my opinions on the direction it chooses to take at certain moments but it is no doubt a fun and adrenaline-filled ride from the moment we start seeing Emma Roberts’ character press the Player button on Nerve and break out of her introvert and controlled world. Some characters could be more fleshed out to follow the direction of where they wanted it to end. But at the same time, if this was a story less about the petty conflicts but more about Ian, Vee and Nerve would be better and more polished. However, there’s still a lot to enjoy in this movie.

TV Binge: Scream Queens (Season 1, 2015)

In the spirit of Halloween, it was time for some TV Binge horror. Well, in this case, horror comedy. Scream Queens has been doing incredibly well and in its Season 2 so I figured that its fresh launch on Netflix meant it was time for me to give it a go! With a cast full of people I like a ton, I can’t imagine not enjoying it. But then, I also know nothing about the story or what its about. That does seem like a trend I’m having of late. It is also probably why I haven’t watched Stranger Things yet because there is just so much talk about it with some phenomenal comparisons. However, we are here to talk about the first season of Scream Queens.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Scream Queens (Season 1, 2015)

Scream Queens

 Creators: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy

Cast: Emma Roberts, Skyler Samuels, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Keke Palmer, Billie Lourd, Glen Powell, Diego Boneta, Oliver Hudson, Niecy Nash, Nasim Pedrad

A semi-anthology series that centers on returning characters being terrorized by a serial killer in different locations, including a university and a hospital. –IMDB

Season one of Scream Queens is set at a university and the focus is with the sorority house Kappa Kappa Tau. It is quite hard to pinpoint how I actually feel about Scream Queens. For starters, it has a lot happening every episode but somehow each episode does feel quite slow and long. Scream Queens has a weird sort of humor that sometimes works and sometimes just induces eye-rolling. However, it does have an outstanding cast. I love a ton of the characters here probably even more than the story it is trying to tell. That doesn’t mean that at times, there are some nice tension-building near the end, but also a good bit of manipulative or guided scenes particularly in the end. A part of it is figuring out whether some decisions would have worked as it is better or if they had did various reveals in the first half a little more slowly which takes away the final unveil of who the Red Devil is and what the story behind it all is. I was happy to make it through the series and it was a sigh of relief to finish it. I’m happy to keep going with Season 2 but after a little break since it is a little harder to get into the story here.

Scream Queens

As much as Chanel and her minions of Chanels called by numbers are really exaggerated portrayal of what rich sorority girls are, that play is sometimes fun. However, they are sometimes quite ridiculous and awkward. The cast is spectacular. I personally love Emma Roberts and she takes the role as Chanel incredibly well. Billie Lourd is rather unknown except for her role in Star Wars 7 (which probably you all may know her from there) and I really enjoyed her as Chanel #3. She plays the emotionless girl with a weird background and hidden secret and at times, it comes off genuinely hilarious and she never laughs so it makes it even more fun. While Abigail Breslin is one of the actresses I like a lot, more when she did her younger roles and because she has less roles nowadays, this is something I look forward to seeing her as Chanel #5 grow. New addition fairly early in the group is a pledge from Hester, played by Lea Michele, who is the typical girl with neck brace and all (reminds me of one of The House Bunny’s character) and she is completely different from her role in Glee. In this one, she comes off rather creepy because of her obsession of death.

Scream Queens

In terms of characters, I truly liked a ton was the new pledges to the sorority and it takes a while to enjoy the main characters of a show but funnily for not enjoying the pace of a series, the main girl Grace, played by Skyler Samuels was one I liked a lot. She’s tough and smart but at times, very clueless about who to trust and not trust. One of my favorite scenes are above. If anything, I liked it even more when she was with Pete, played by Diego Boneta, who is someone I haven’t seen since his small roles in 90210. Hopefully, he’ll have more TV or movie roles eventually. While he has quite the potential to be a great actor, the fact that he can sound and even looks a little like Matthew McConaughey may be what makes it harder to succeed. However, I loved his role here. He plays as the investigative journalist who is researching the Red Devil killings and a big secret of Kappa Kappa Tau. Keke Palmer is also one of the more dynamic characters here. Talking about awkward, we can’t not mention Jamie Lee Curtis who I questioned as to why she took this silly project on as the Dean of the university. But man, is she a fantastic actress and does the role so well. In fact, she may be one of the more dangerous characters in the season and doesn’t even need a mask because she is smarter than that.

Scream Queens

The most ridiculous and somewhat pun-y and awkward people has to go to the sorority boys collectively called the Dickie Dollar Scholars. Oddly, none of them go to class just like a ton of the girls don’t either probably. These guys are just stupid and it makes it more fun to laugh at how silly they are, and I mean every single one of them. The leader of the crowd is Chad, played by Glen Powell, who is quite the douchebag. Funnily enough, he never is the target, probably because he is too stupid to be one but that adds some extra fun. One of the best scenes has to be that one up there as a Backstreet Boys song plays and they are somewhat acting out what the music video would be like or at least reminisces. And that actually sums up what I feel is entertaining about Scream Queens when it reminisces on some very great movies. In the sorority houses, there is even a hint of Mean Girls there with all the not eating and the extreme abuse to the other sisters in the house.

Scream Queens

Like I said in the beginning, I think the character designs here are entertaining to watch. However, the flow of the story had its issues. One of the other issues I had was the Red Devil, our killer of this season. It also is one of the main things of slasher flicks that gets me sometimes, at least the not so well done ones. The Red Devil is a creepy character with the mask and the entire costume and it being the university mascot and all that. It can get through here and there and actually is quite stealthy. However, the issue with the Red Devil is that the secret killer itself becomes somewhat apparent near the last quarter. On top of that, the last scenes make too much of an effort to keep whoever is hiding mysterious. It goes a little too coerced (that is the best way I can say).

Overall, Scream Queens is good. Its a little tough to get into but the characters are constructed rather well even if they take a while to love even with all their flaws. The best moments are those that reminisce on 90s pop culture. The Red Devil is effective in some parts but always feels a little too deliberate. In many ways, perhaps Scream Queens is supposed to be a little over the top to mock the slasher horror genre a little while still having some creepy moments.

Have you seen Scream Queens Season 1? What are your thoughts?

Halloween Marathon: Scream 4 (2011)

The first feature franchise of this year’s Halloween Marathon is rounding up with Scream 4. After a not as exciting Scream 3, we are interested to see how the franchise picks up after over ten years. As for where we are going after this one, I will be looking at a mini series and a TV series and a movie before starting up the second feature franchise, Evil Dead, next week.

Lets not get ahead of ourselves and jump right into Scream 4!

Scream 4 (2011)

 Scream 4Director: Wes Craven

Cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Marley Shelton, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Nico Tortorella

Ten years have passed, and Sidney Prescott, who has put herself back together thanks in part to her writing, is visited by the Ghostface Killer. –IMDB

Scream takes a nifty turn of events. Scream is the original horror. Scream 2 plays with turning true events into a movie and Scream 3 looks at the franchising of this Stab series and the 4th features none other than the revampimg and remake or reboot of a series. While those are the premise of the stories, we also have Neve Campbell as the title role Sidney. In fact, it makes Randy (in Scream and Scream 2 played by Jamie Kennedy) and all the horror fans’ awkward knowledge about making horror movies more legit and somewhat mocks the industry but educates the audience about what makes a good or effective horror movie whether it is the original, the sequel or the remaster. In many ways, as I think about this review, I realized this as an after thought and it is pretty brilliant. However, Scream 4 is still not where Scream 1 &2 but it was rather entertaining, at least more than Scream 3. The bonus of it all is that this was like a CW/ABC characters reunion, kind of. We had Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Shenae Grimes-Beech (90210), then Kristen Bell and some other girl, followed by Britt Robertson and … On top of that, Adam Brody (The OC) is also in there. And more recently, Emma Roberts (Scream Queens) is also in this playing Sidney’s younger cousin. It is like a mini TV reunion right there. If that doesn’t peak your interest, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette takes on their characters again and that is always a plus as far as I’m concerned.

Scream 4

 Scream 4 is pretty good. While most of the cast listed above from all those TV shows get killed off pretty quickly, Emma Roberts is a key character here as kind of like the remake next generation version of Sidney. She’s the equivalent where Ghostface seems to be targeting her now. I’ve seen quite a few movies of Emma Roberts and this one is before all of those ones. She is a pretty good actress with lots of potential and while horror movies promote more of a scream queen aspect (funny since she is in Scream Queens), I still like her character quite a bit. However, this last installment of the franchise is getting hard to talk about. It is hard to not know the tricks up their sleeves and in fact, I guessed the killer for the most part. Maybe it is because of the next gen idea and remake and then how the characters are presented. This isn’t out of the blue and actually makes sense in my mind when the reveal was there. Still, Scream 4 has a decent pacing and some pretty clever kills. Plus, there is a great revival of the witty humor here which is a key element of why I have enjoyed this series so far.

Scream 4

Another great part is to show the progress the original characters have made over the years, especially since it has been ten years since the last event (for us and maybe the movie timeline but I don’t remember anymore). For one, making it completely feasible and banking on the emphasis that the director hasn’t changed for all four movies, it has a nice continuity to it as we see Sidney has reentered the society but now as an author for a self-help book. She was doing some phone counseling in the previous movie and it makes sense for her to teach other people how to deal with trauma. Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers is a fiction novelist and finally married to Dewey, although it seems that they have a somewhat rocky relationship as well. Despite the clumsiness, Dewey is the sheriff of Woodsboro now and has to make some tough calls. As Gale Weathers comes back out to help with solving the crime and the characters from the previous movies are more bonded than before, there feels like a lot more at stake just for that. One of my favorite scenes is the barn house party where they show the Stab series with Gale and the cameras and Ghostface.

Scream 4

There are some flaws to Scream 4 and at this point, it is small things like slight predictability because it follows somewhat of the same formula except changing up the idea of horrors based on true events, sequels, remakes, etc. That angle is a great twist to the slasher genre as they somewhat psychoanalyze their own movie and in turn makes for some great jokes. Then there’s the young cast which sometimes has some awkward acting bits but for the most part carries their roles out rather well. There may be some lengthy bits and then the constant wonder of how Dewey is Sheriff and acts somewhat like a goof and the fact that whoever is Ghostface always gets beat up and destroyed and outsmarted but then also keeps up his slasher abilities. Except at this point, all this doesn’t matter because especially with the constant players of the Scream franchise, they are there in all the movies and we care for them now, making this one much more forgiving than it might actually be. It doesn’t live up to the first or the second but it is still a fun time to be had.

Overall, it wasn’t easy to review this one but Scream 4 is probably more entertaining to those following the franchise than those starting off with this one. While it is self-contained to a good extent, Scream 4 is not quite as good as the first or second movie but better than the third and for the most part, it banks a lot on the love and returning fans of the franchise and the characters like Sidney, Gale and Dewey who have been with us all these years as those characters and have built a relationship with them. The Scream franchise is possibly one of the shorter but definitely more solid franchises with enjoyable movies in every installment.

Have you seen Scream 4? Which is your favorite in the Scream franchise?

Netflix A-Z (with a twist!): Adult World (2013)

We’re back! Third round of Netflix A-Z!

This time, I promised it would be a little different. If I have enough posts to cover the week, I’m aiming for dropping it to only one Netflix A-Z per week. There may be exceptions depending on how I feel, since it could take a while to get through a round and the point is to decrease the growing titles on my Netflix list. Also, this round is going to be only with Independent films from whats available on Netflix. Just saying that its what is listed under Independent Films. I don’t go and look it up afterwards unless its super obvious that it isn’t. However, I have thought about keeping it two posts a week but just focusing on the “letter of the week” sort of thing.

First up to kick things off is Adult World! I haven’t ever heard of this before but I like the cast. I think its worth a chance! 🙂

Adult World (2013)

Adult World

Director: Scott Coffey

Cast: Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, John Cusack, Shannon Woodward, Cloris Leachman, Armando Riesco

Amy, a naive college graduate who believes she’s destined to be a great poet, begrudgingly accepts a job at a sex shop while she pursues a mentorship with reclusive writer Rat Billings.-IMDB

 If there’s one word to describe Adult World, it’d have to be quirky. And if there was a second word, it would be awkward. I’m not sure I totally buy the story itself or that it appealed to me a lot. I mean, its pretty much a very generic sort of independent film about coming of age and finding yourself and where you want to go. Its about growing up and really feeling with the hardships experienced. Its about working hard towards your dreams and sometimes embracing the fact of whether it was meant to be. While the story didn’t grasp me as a big picture, the characters here are pretty charming to watch.

adult world

For one, I’m a big fan of Emma Roberts. She hasn’t been in huge movies and the bigger ones like say We’re the Millers was fun but nothing amazing either from the little I recall of it. My review is HERE if you’d like to check it out. She’s always had very emo roles. I guess that would be what we’d call it. There’s something deep about her character and some form of soul-searching and she does these roles really well. She’s not afraid to do those awkward bits and in this one, there are some seriously embarrassingly awkward moments that I couldn’t help but find hilarious because I felt a little embarrassed for her character. Her character, Amy is an incredibly naive girl who really hasn’t lived life except in her own mind, through her own words and hasn’t felt a lot of emotions to help her grow. She is incredibly gullible and this is why its so fun to watch. However, when she does step into reality, there’s quite a few surprises that she experiences and learns slowly.

adult world

The biggest cast member in Adult World has to be John Cusack. I love a lot of movies and it actually feels like I haven’t seen him into anything like this before. He plays as Rat Billings, a great poet that had a lot of recognition in the 90s but has since faded away. He’s cynical about the world and everything around him. It seems that his inspiration is also not what it used to be. Reluctantly, he takes in Amy and becomes her mentor but in the most brutal way. His character is pretty hard to grasp. I’m sure it was meant to make him into a person that is deeper except we never really quite see it other than the fact that he doesn’t care right now about Amy because she’s not ready for writing yet and he takes it upon himself to make it clear that she still has a lot in life to experience before thinking she can be anything.

adult world

Last is Evan Peters who plays the young manager at the sex shop Amy decides to work at to support her dream to become a writer. Evan Peters plays as Alex. How to describe Alex? He’s a little awkward but he also has a much more carefree way of seeing the world, his career and what he can achieve. He knows to do the best he can at his responsibilities and while he is the love interest in this situation, he also teaches Amy quite a bit about toning down on her high horse. Another is that: Alex is an incredibly lovable character in the awkward, slightly dorky way. He’s pretty harmless. Its also that which made me fluctuate a little between my feelings towards his acting and how much of it mattered to me for his character.

Overall, I pretty much did a character analysis up there because Adult World’s strongest point is its cast that portrays a group of charming characters with each their own way to connect to the audience. I can’t say the story is anything memorable. In fact, a few days later as I’m typing this, I’m not sure I actually remember a whole lot of it. I only remember the really fun parts and the laugh out loud bits and its these collective moments that make this movie work for me.

Have you seen Adult World?

We’re The Millers (2013)

Back to the 2013 movies today! My beautiful tablet offered me free rental of We’re the Millers.  I never really was totally intrigued by this but hey, why not, right? I love free stuff. Always makes me happy. Lets check it out!

we're the millers posterDirector: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly C. Quinn, Tomer Sisley

David (Jason Sudeikis) is a professional (?) drug dealer.  He’s been doing it since college and he still works for the same guy, Brad (Ed Helms). When he helps out his 18 year old neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter) save a runaway girl Casey (Emma Roberts) from some thugs and reveals who he is, it causes David to be robbed.  Unable to pay for the drugs he lost, Brad gives him a job to go to Mexico and smuggle marijuana back within a certain time frame.  Because of this, he comes up with a plan to disguise as a family with an RV to lower the possibilities of them being suspicious and asks for not only Kenny and Casey to help disguise as his kids but also his neighbor who is also a stripper, Rose (Jennifer Aniston) to disguise as his wife.

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I wasn’t exactly interested in We’re the Millers to begin with so I never paid a lot of attention to the reviews going up during the summer but in all honesty, I had a lot of fun with this one.  Sure, there were moments that the humor was lingering in stupid territory but for the most part, I had a good laugh with it.  The story wasn’t super complicated and for this sort of thing, its exactly what it needs. For me, I felt it worked fine: predictable but still entertaining.

we're the millers rose david

The best part had to be its characters that made the movie enjoyable.  I totally loved Jennifer Aniston’s Rose because she was absolutely hilarious and then her chemistry with Jason Sudeikis was just awesome. They complemented each other really well.  As a group with Will Poulter’s Kenny and Emma Roberts’s Casey, they played off each other very nicely in this peculiar way.  Together, there was a lot of laugh out loud moments.

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Overall, We’re the Millers took me by surprise.  I didn’t expect to be so entertained and I loved the cast to bits.  The story may not be all that original but they chemistry between the cast gave it a good vibe and turned into feel-good movie.  Its nothing to run out to buy or rent but its definitely a good time if you’re into this sort of humor 🙂

What did you think of We’re the Millers?

The Art of Getting By (2011)

I’m really starting to like how Bates Motel is panning out and they are green lighting a second season already after 4 episodes.  With that, Freddie Highmore is once again on my radar. There is one movie that I’ve been hesitating to see and has been sitting next to my laptop for months and its this one: The Art of Getting By.  I have no idea why I initially got it.  I knew pretty much nothing about it but I do like Freddie Highmore.  I could be the fact that I’ve enjoyed all the movies that he’s been in (and own most of them) and I’ve seen him through most of his career thus far.

the art of getting by dvd coverDirector: Gavin Wiesen

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Blair Underwood, Rita Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser

I read a quote once when I was a kid “We live alone, We die alone. Everything else is just an illusion.” It used to keep me up at night

Thats pretty much the first lines of the movie said by our main character George (Freddie Highmore).  George is about to graduate high school and he has no motivation for homework.  He doesn’t understand the meaning of life and what life is all about and believes there is so much more and if everything was an illusion, then whats the point of homework.  Because of this, he never completes his assignments and frequents the principal’s office.  However, one day when he stands up for a girl, Sally’s mistake, things start changing.  Sally (Emma Roberts) approaches him to be friends.  Through each other, they learn more about not only each other because they are so different in personality and experiences but also George finds his motivation in her and as he starts falling more and more in love with her, he also finds a more clearly defined meaning to life.  However, both of them are still young and they both don’t really know how to express their love to each other.  With obstacles that come up with family, academic and friends, and graduation approaching and George being endanger of not being able to get his diploma, George and Sally both have to learn to be independent and choose how to find the meaning for their lives.

the art of getting by 1

This is a story about young love but at the same time, its also a story about the transition from realizing that you have to grow up and to decide on a future.  The main focus was on George and Sally.  Even though there were other characters, such as their parents and friends and teachers that entered the picture.  Some acted as obstacles, and others as muse, and some encouraged and guided them to the right path.  Their roles may not have been abundant but they were there to help the two main characters move forward in their lives.

the-art-of-getting-by 2

Freddie Highmore has grown a lot physically and as an actor.  I never knew he was English because he never seemed to have the whole English accent when he spoke in movies.  I love a lot of movies his done from when he was a kid and did August Rush, Spiderwick Chronicles and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’s always done exceptional jobs in whatever he takes on.  This one was no exception. I found that George was a person that I could relate to (and probably many other people), regarding being afraid to express your feelings, not really knowing how to motivate for school and trying to find out what they want for themselves in life for the future or even the present.  He dives into deep thoughts.  Its having the trouble to find the courage to say whats deep down.  I’m going to say that we all go through this phase some point in our life.  Of course, I never was witty like him and had to do all my work no matter how messed up my mind was.  Not exactly sure my parents, my teachers, my principals or the school itself would have been so forgiving.

the art of getting by 4

Emma Roberts is pretty much a fresh face to me.  I’ve seen her in Valentine’s Day before this and I haven’t seen it in a few years.  She is a very pretty and charming actress.  In the role of Sally, she plays the role of the opposite of George’s introvert, no friends, deep in his own world type of person.  She’s social and its her personality that pulls George out of being the loner he believes he is destined to be.  She has the role of making this movie come alive and George come alive with her energy.  In time, she proves to be a complicated character as well.

This flick is fantastic and its not going to be the most original plot idea ever done but it focuses on the basics.  It gives us characters we can relate to.  We focus on two people who come together.  There is just one story that we need to look at or two if you look at each of their stories. We see that a person is greatly influenced in thoughts by those around them: our friends, the people we associate with, our family, etc. We can bring us to believe that love can motivate and inspire us.  However, we need to be able to have the courage to face it.  It also shows us that sometimes, we just need that one person that can understand us and makes us feel similar but different to at the same time and that one person will inspire us to find meaning in our lives.

The Art of Getting By is pretty cute and inspiring.  The meaning and the way they lay out this simple yet complicated story makes this great.  The characters make the screen come alive and it all dials back to the basic elements. Plus, they use real New York City scenes which look very nice.  There are some fun parts mostly due to the dialogue and the interactions between Sally and George. I think it merits a rewatch and I’m sure that something else will come to me and I’ll see something else.  It definitely gave me something to think about and made me remember past dilemmas that I’ve had when I was younger (and even some that I have today).