I really can’t make up my mind about this film. In may ways, it’s an entirely conventional high-school movie about people who don’t quite fit in with the school norms finding a group of friends where they do fit. It’s filled with the kind of agreeable dialogue which sounds great but we all know is a long way from how school students actually speak. The music is terrific, though probably rather cynically aimed to draw in an older, white, male demographic. That would be me, then.
For the most part it meanders along with a light-hearted, entertaining spirit that’s not as deep as it would like to think it is but is no less enjoyable for that. Towards the end it becomes something else entirely – a character’s moment of self-realisation about a previously repressed incident in the past takes the film to a new place. Suddenly we’re in darker, harder territory – the effect of traumatic past events on our present and future, the nature and dangers of repressing pain and how we might heal from it. Which is fine, but it’s been so repressed throughout the film that it’s too much of a shock, too much of a change tone too late in the day for us to properly absorb. That’s the nature of making a film about repression, I guess – if you’re going to be true to the subject then maybe the moment of revelation has to come completely out of left-field.
Or maybe there are other ways of doing it – run stories from the past and present in parallel, for instance. Either way, what we’re left with is an engaging, but ultimately insubstantial film that’s trying to punch above its weight.
I rated this movie 6/10 on imdb.com and 3/5 on rottentomatoes.com