Laggies (aka Say When, 2014)

NEW RELEASE FILM REVIEW || Seen at Empire Leicester Square, London, Thursday 20 November 2014 || My Rating 3.5 stars very good

© A24

Sometimes, even though a film isn’t the kind of thing you’d usually make much of an effort to see, you read reviews of it that just seem grossly unfair (hello, The Guardian), and it makes you feel more warmly disposed. It helps that I’ve found Keira Knightley more likeable as an actor in recent years, while Sam Rockwell has always been dependable. Add to that my resolution to see more films by woman directors, and I felt I had to catch this in its brief window of cinema release. I’m glad I did. The American title (not retained for the UK release) is rather idiosyncratic, but captures the sense of the central characters lagging behind their peers. Chiefly this is Knightley’s character Megan, in her late-20s but lacking motivation, with no sense of what she should be doing and with cold feet about her relationship, who hides out at teenager Annika’s home (Moretz). If the central character were male, this kind of regressive ingenuousness would no doubt be grating, but actually I found the friendship between Megan and Annika rather sweet. At a certain level, yes, the film is hardly original, and so many of its details suggest screenwriterly contrivance, and yet I’m willing to forgive all that, because it’s a likeable film which avoids relying on humiliation and pratfalls for its comedy, but rather focuses on likeable people grappling with real, if familiar, issues in an identifiable way.

CREDITS || Director Lynn Shelton | Writer Andrea Seigel | Cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke | Starring Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell | Length 99 minutes


The Way, Way Back (2013)

NEW RELEASE FILM REVIEW || Directors/Writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash | Cinematographer John Bailey | Starring Liam James, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Steve Carell | Length 103 minutes | Seen at Cineworld Wood Green, London, Sunday 1 September 2013 || My Rating 2.5 stars likeable

© Fox Searchlight Pictures

Coming of age movies have never been my favourite. You’ll have gleaned that from my seriously underwhelmed review of Mud (2012), a film many others loved. A lot of the same kinds of elements are in place here, but within a comedic framework (rather than Southern gothic), and I have a lot of the same qualms.

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