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Not Horrible But It Never Really Adds Up to Much
Michael_Elliott15 November 2012
Jack & Diane (2012)

** (out of 4)

This film has been thrown out as a lesbian teen drama, a romantic drama and even a horror drama and while it does try to mix all of those things I think it fails for the most part. The story centers on British teen Diane (Juno Temple) who falls in love with female friend Jack (Riley Keough) and we see their troubled relationship turn into something rather bizarre. I'm really not sure what JACK & DIANE was trying to do unless it just wanted to be one of those indie movies that managed to be all over the place and seem rather other worldly while wanting the viewer to make up their mind on what it's about. I don't think the film was as bad as some of the reviews out there but there's still no question that there are quite a few flaws here. The biggest is that the film just never really makes us care about the characters and this here is the fault of the screenplay. I'm really not sure what writer-director Bradley Rust Gray was wanting to say or do with these characters but they never really come to life. For the majority of the overlong running time I was just sitting there wondering what anything I was watching was supposed to mean. The romantic elements never really work, the drama between the two never works and when the horror elements do show up they just seem out of place. The werewolf creation looks pretty bad but I think this was done on purpose. The horror elements just really seem out of place as if they were added just to expand the market. I did think the director at least made a good looking film and it was certainly professionally done. The biggest draw for me was the two leads and I thought both of them did a very good job. I thought Keough, Elvis' granddaughter, does a very good job in her part and I thought she handled the character well and managed to make you believe her in the role. Temple was absolutely charming in her part and her beauty certainly helped carry the film but she also managed to give an actual performance. With that said, it's hard to know who to recommend this thing to because the film's really all over the map and doesn't really succeed at anything it tries.
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Not very convincing as a love story. It's there, but it doesn't work.
The_Film_Cricket4 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
To be clear, Jack and Diane has nothing whatsoever to do with John Cougar Mellencamp's 1982 song of the same name. That song was a brilliant piece of Americana about two kids, a boy and a girl, growing up in Middle America. This movie is a disorganized piece of indie "realism" about two girls in New York who approach falling in love with one another. The problem is that the movie doesn't have enough confidence in its characters to develop them in a way that makes us care.

The major focus of the film is Diane (Juno Temple), a wide eyed Brit with a mop of blonde hair who chooses baby doll dresses to be her ever-present wardrobe. She's a cute girl who misbehaves, drinks to the point of vomiting and has frequent nosebleeds. The other girl is Jack (Riley Keough, the granddaughter of Elvis) a skate-boarding butch lesbian, a loner who finds something to like about this dysfunctional Diane.

The girls meet in a store one day and have a few shy, awkward exchanges before Diane has another nosebleed. The nosebleeds are never explained nor followed up and neither is a scene in which Jack is hit by a car immediately following their initial meeting. There are a lot of things in this movie that happen that are never really explained. The frustration of this movie is that the love affair happens in episodes, not in continuity.

There is something in these two girl that, in a better movie, might have made for a pure down-to-earth love story. The problem is that the screenplay won't have it. It keeps intercutting their budding relationship with a lot of episodic nonsense, like a silly scene in which Diane escapes into the bathroom to shave her pubic area, or the reoccurring microscopic images of something monstrous growing inside of Diane that are perhaps supposed to be manifestations of her twisted feelings about Jack. We see internal organs with hair slithering tightly around them, but we are left to assume what that might be. We are led to believe that it is the manifestation of this new lifestyle but you're never really sure. The scenes are disgusting and fall on the story like a ton of bricks.

Those scenes seem to indicate that the filmmakers didn't know how to create characters with genuine emotions. The screen presence of the two girls but what they have to talk about is dull and uninteresting when it isn't being intruded upon by another dramatic element. The movie moves away from their relationship as an effort to keep from having to really deal with them. This is a very confused movie that leaves you scratching you're head when it's over.
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Beautiful piece of work, but not for everyone
MJ18 October 2012
I've been waiting years for this movie...and it was worth the wait. I first heard about this film maybe 4 or 5 years ago, and I've followed it all the way through its development. It was off to a rocky start with many casting changes (originally set to star Olivia Thirlby and Ellen Page), and also suffered funding issues, but this doesn't show in the final product.

Let me start off by saying that this film is at its heart, a beautiful love story. Jack (Keough), though tough skinned and sometimes a jerk, proves to be an extremely likable character. Jack is a typical rugged tomboy, but also hides an extremely vulnerable hopeless romantic underneath. Diane comes off first as childish, through the way she dresses and speaks, but she hides a deep intensity and is in actuality very strong and multifaceted. Both actresses are fearless and play their respective roles remarkably. The story line is not arced with the stereotypical first-love plot; it had many twists and turns and was deep and complicated, but the filmmaker made it work on the screen. This movie also had many quirky moments interspersed, that were quite laughable. My favorite part besides Keoughs and Temples performances is the cinematography (and its musical pairings, but more on that later). Gray, the director, shot a picturesque and dream-like movie. The best example of this is the scene where Jack and Diane first kiss in the club; it takes your breath away. Each frame is near perfection, but viewer be forewarned this is a slow movie. There are many awkward (but poignant) moments that draw you in and make you feel just as uncomfortable as the characters. To me, this is the whole point of cinema, to make a viewer feel certain emotions, and this film achieves that admirably. If you are not used to slow films with sparse dialogue, you won't like this one.

Now to the nitty gritty, specifically "the monster" and the animations by the Brothers Quay. The fact that this was a "werewolf" movie is what drew me to this project in the first place, but that really is not what this film came to be. There is a monster and it is a throwback to the beastly werewolves of lore. However, this "monster" represents Diane's awakening sexual desire. As the film progresses and the monster in Diane awakens she shows her intense and passionate side more and more. The Brothers Quay animations didn't do much for me, but they are unique and add to the horror aspect of this movie. Speaking of celebrities, Kylie Minogue's performance is somewhat underwhelming. Had I of not known she was in the movie beforehand, I would have never taken a second look at her character. Which is not to say it was badly acted, in fact it was acted so well, it just didn't stand out.

What did stand out surprisingly, was the music in this film, one of Minogue's own songs is in it, and it is incredible. The soundtrack suits the film very well and is extraordinarily beautiful, as it portrays the intensity or confusion of Jack and Diane's emotions. There was also exquisite attention to detail in many aspects of this film. The best example that comes to mind is how almost every food that Jack or Diane eat, they share with one another, and it is all colored red, which surely could be a metaphor for devouring someone else's flesh (harkening to the recurring werewolf theme). The ending is open-ended, and I'm certain this will leave most viewers confused and opposed to this film. However, I like a film that makes me think, one that makes me want to believe, and this film does exactly that.

TL;DR Not a film for everyone, but if you like unique love stories, superb intense acting, a dash of horror, and long drawn out scenes that are beautifully shot, then this is the film for you.
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"what was that movie all about?"
Antonia Alverez10 October 2012
It was not an horror, drama or comedy; moreover, it was not a good mix of these genres. I could not laugh, could not get scared or felt emotional about anything that is going on in the movie. Mainly, they might want to tell a teenage lesbian story, but they did it in a such a cheap and simple way with very bad cliché dialogue and scenes that you just want to laugh at it. Kylie Minogue plays a small part in the movie, and evidently chosen to make the movie more attractive with her beauty. 23-year-old Juno Temple looks like a early bloomed teenage girl which is also one of the many disturbing and weird things about the movie. At the end of the movie I asked to myself "what was that movie all about?" It's simply a bad movie and waste of time.
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An Interesting take on the Female coming of Age Movie
Writer/director Bradley Rust Gray's debut feature "The Exploding Girl" was a mild indie success with its star Zoe Kazan, a twenty-something girl dealing with life and relationship issues. It's a slow burn character study that felt very real and relatable and looked to be a good starting point for the young filmmaker. His follow up film "Jack and Diane" is here and it has taken a pretty vicious critical beating. It stars current "It" girl Juno Temple and Riley Keough in a brief but intense affair, that includes metaphoric intercuts with a werewolf like beast. The film also features brief stop motion tidbits from the brilliant Quay Brothers. In some ways I think it has been unfairly picked on and doesn't deserve such a thrashing.

Diane (Temple) is a British girl in New York City who while trying to find a phone runs into Jack (Keough) the stereotypical tomboy. The two girls are complete opposites. Diane is tiny, meek and insecure. While Jack puts up a tough and rigid exterior, full of false self confidence. After partying the night before, Jack is hit by a car while on her skateboard and for the rest of the film she has a nasty scrape on the side of her face. We find out both characters are caring around some heavy emotional baggage.

Diane has frequent nosebleeds and strange dreams about a big nasty beast ripping people apart, but this is by no means a horror movie. The animated sequences are thick strands of hair moving around the inside of a persons body like a rope tightening around a heart. It's sticky, grimy and a little gross, but then again so are some of the critics. Early on in their relationship Jack finds out that Diane is leaving for Paris in a few weeks and she tries to distance herself and forget everything about her, but she can't. Eventually they start to embrace the time they have left together. The film does feel a little awkward and strange but then again this is what the characters are feeling. The story also meanders and goes in a few different directions but overall I didn't find it annoying. Towards the end of their time together Jack starts getting the nose bleeds and having these awful visions almost like Diane infected her with something.

I know I'm in the minority on this but I kind of dug the film. It's currently available on Netflix watch instantly, so take a chance and give it a watch.
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Weak Storyline, Poor Script, at least great soundtrack!
melanie-tsao25 October 2012
Wow this was an epic failure on the part of the director. The movie was a roller-coaster of emotions that never made sense or came together towards the end of the film. The irony of the film is that he was trying to tell a story about first love, yet the dialogue between the supposed two in love was poor or nonexistent. There was no special bond shown on screen at all which left the audience even more confused after the movie was over. Moreover, there was no character development conveyed throughout the film which would have helped us believe more that the two were falling in love.

And yes, is this a film about love, horror, tragedy, or comedy? Who knows? The one thing I enjoyed was the soundtrack and music selection.
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reiddebster-294-59902819 August 2013
I was really disappointed and was expecting a lot more. I feel like I wasted an hour and 45 minutes I'll never get back. I lasted that long in hopes that something interesting would happen. I was at least hoping for some good sex scenes but that was a disappointment too. I usually like indie films because i know it is a struggle to make them on such a tight budget but I def would not recommend this to anyone. I think I sucks that this site makes you put 10 lines of review for a film that is not worth 10 lines but I guess I will play along if I can spare someone else wasting their time on this film and not searching Netflix for something better.
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pure crap!
deboraey21 May 2013
This movie is indeed pure pure crap and no more!

All the fuzz as for instance that the monster we saw - and also the meaningless images of some kind of living tissue and hair growing around it - is a metaphor for Diane's sexual feelings and how they increase . . and burst . . . come on give me a break folks! This isn't even a love story . . it's the story of two kind of weird teenagers meeting and spending time together exploring each other and nag and whine all the time . . pf . . I really don't see the point of this movie. . .

Why not make a decent lesbian movie for a wide audience instead of this piece of crap . . . it's beyond me!
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What do you want?
Augustus Clive22 November 2012
Action movies with tons of heads getting blown off and blood bursts don't always have 'points'. Most are just ways of showing action and people say, 'Well, what do you expect?'

For some reason there is a double standard in cinema now where a movie, if it isn't a genre, has to have some mind blowing '1984' point. Well, the truth is, people don't care about points. I know people that have written great books with compelling themes and can't get them published. It's all about what people think, what they think they want, and how they sum it all up in the end.

Most people will watch 'Jack and Diane' and say, 'That was a big waste of time. There was no point. The acting was weak. Why did I watch that?'

Sometimes we take for granted what a movie, or story for that matter is. 'Jack and Diane' is a glimpse. It's a look at a situation that might have happened or could happen. The characters are not developed, because you are supposed to imagine them in your mind or even perhaps see your self in them.

The truth is, there was a lot said in this movie: about people, about how we can't see into other people's lives, feel what they feel; how we are closed off and encapsulated and outwardly poisonous to anyone we don't know. There was an over all theme of love and awakening sexual desire. People don't want that stuff, so most will look at this movie and say the usual 'what's the point'

People like love stories where a guy gets a girl, where a girl gets a guy and they move in together and have two kids and a dog. People like the thriller where some guy succeeds through unreasonable measure an impossible situation while somehow falling in love and solving his life problems.

We like movies where people get shot and cut up; based on true life bs.

But, when a movie about two kids loving each other for a brief time, feeling that bud of love in their stomachs and loins, comes out...we judge it to shreds.

Juno Temple and Riley Keough did a great job. They acted. There wasn't any big chase scene or gun fight or montage. They didn't give speeches. The dialogue really doesn't matter either. It was just two characters growing emotion. Why can't that be enough for an hour and a half?
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Juno Temple Gets Wasted
M MALIK29 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
seriously i am in no mood of a long discussion so i am going to make a short review about this so called terrible lesbian film.

i don't know what the makers were trying to prove here but there is no character development at all,zero chemistry,bad script plus what is the story angle about that were wolf who tries to eat Jack in the bed.

this movie is horrible it had potential it was going well but as you are in 15 minutes into in things started going down hard for those who are expecting some sex scenes better get ready to be disappointing as there is none in this just unwanted kissing scenes.

the story is about 2 lesbian girls Jack & Diane they both makes things complicated for each other.

the whole project is so boring i mean it is so hard to sit through but only for the cast hoping things would go better but no Riley Keough did some decent acting as Jack i totally though she was a boy with that haircut but i am angry about Juno Temple this lady is extremely talented but got wasted in this mess of a film her role is awful with addition of lame dialogs why did she signed this up & what was she doing here is beyond me this is a bad career choice.

i have seen many lesbian films if you are looking for a nice one try blue is the warmest color it is way better then this nonsense.

the directors confusion between a soft core & horror genre led to this failed execution he failed to understood the subject.

Overall Jack & Diane 2012 is a waste of time and money my rating is 2/10:Skipp It
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