Monday, 10 November 2014

Say when (3½ Stars)

If anything, I would call this film an anti-coming-of-age comedy. Keira Knightley plays the lead role as Megan, a 29-year-old woman whose life has frozen since she left school. She has the same friends. She has the same boyfriend. She still lives with her parents. Despite having a Masters degree in counselling, she works for her father, standing in the street holding up a sign advertising his tax consultancy business. She looks on in horror as her friends marry and have babies, but she's safe in her teenage bubble, until the worst possible thing happens: her boyfriend proposes to her.

Megan accepts the proposal, grudgingly, but she can't accept the consequences. She drives into the nearest city (Seattle), not knowing where she's going. She just wants to escape. At a gas station she meets a group of children waiting for someone to buy them alcohol, which she does gladly, remembering that it's what she did at their age. She makes friends with 16-year-old Annika, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Not wanting to return home, she asks Annika if she can stay with her. She can't stay hidden for long. Annika's father, a divorced divorce lawyer -- is there a joke in there somewhere? -- is at first suspicious when he finds an older woman sleeping on the floor in his daughter's room, but he grows to like Megan, and as is to be expected in films like these, a romance develops.

The two leading actresses put on terrific performances. Chloe Grace Moretz is one of my favourite actresses, but Keira Knightley isn't eclipsed by her. If anything, Keira has the more difficult role, because she has to play a troubled teenager.

This is a story that I can relate to. Despite being a few years older than Megan, I still feel like a teenager. If it were up to me I would still hang out with teenagers, but I'm aware that the older I get the creepier it would seem. People could misconstrue my attempts to cling to my youth. I've often heard it said that "Age is just a number", but unfortunately it isn't true. A person's age dictates the way he's expected to act. Luckily I can't be forced to think like an adult. I am Dancer, and I shall be forever 16.

Incidentally, this film is called "Laggies" in the USA. What does that mean? No idea. On the other hand, the title "Say when" doesn't really mean anything either. I don't like it when a film's name is changed, but if they really must do it they should at least make it something better.

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