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In the 1960s, a group of friends at an all girls school learn that their school is going to be combined with a nearby all boys school. They concoct a plan to save their school while dealing with everyday problems along the way.
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Billy Bob Thornton,
When fate steps in and brings together two high school seniors from opposite sides of the track, it's something crazy/beautiful in this sexy, fun and energetic story of first love. Nicole (Kirsten Dunst) is the 17-year-old troubled daughter of a wealthy congressman who never met a rule she didn't break. Carlos (Jay Hernandez) is a grade A student with big dreams who endures a two-hour bus ride every morning to attend high school in an upscale L.A. neighbourhood. Their innocent flirtations quickly develop into passionate love, but Nicole's self-destructive behaviour threatens their relationship and puts Carlos' promising future in jeopardy. Will their intense passion keep them together despite the objections of their families or will Carlos be forced to plan his future without Nicole? Surprises lie at every turn in this wildly seductive and critically acclaimed drama. Written by
I was really pleasantly surprised by this film. It wasn't the usual dumb teen movie. It address some real-world issues from a modern perspective and managed to not make itself look silly doing it. The script was tightly written with just enough edge to give it a sense of reality without it being totally destroyed by it's kiddie rating.
The usual teen movie makes fun of the adult world and laughably tries to make the teens somehow the center of the known universe. This is more real in it's approach, showing two very vulnerable young people on the verge of being thrust into that very real adult world and the issues they have in discovering themselves as near-adults through each other's eyes. There are quite a few relationships these days that mix cultures and this film handles a realistic look at some of the problems. I think it had to or risk the charge of being unrealistic. Still, there is more here, not just teen romance, though that is certainly painfully portrayed by an emotionally exposed Kirsten Dunst and the serious Jay Hernandez. It is also a film ultimately about the good and evil influences that tug at us all and the effects it can have on those around us. It managed to convey those issues fairly well given the censorship restraints it was under. Adding to a solid performance by Dunst and Hernandez is a fine cast, including Bruce Davidson and a deliciously unlikable Lucinda Jenney doing a great modern take on the evil stepmother. Taryn Manning as Dunst's best girlfriend nearly stole a couple of scenes and certainly bears watching in the future; there's light behind those big eyes. I see she also had a minor credit in the music score, which was very entertaining on it's own (and this said from an old guy). I also enjoyed the performance of Rolando Molina as Hernandez's brother, though it was nearly too stereotyped. He managed to make it just believable enough to be genuine. My major criticism would be the lack of subtitles for the considerable Spanish dialog. I for one found this too frustrating to forgive.
All-in-all, it's more than worth the price of admission and I can agree with some other viewers that Dunst might deserve at least a nomination come awards time next year.
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