A charming watch but lacks enough a punch to be memorable
Some may view the struggles of adolescence with fond memory, as a time of innocence and a stepping stone to becoming an adult, others may see it as a collection of petty first world squabbles that we all must joylessly march through to enter the crushing world of adulthood. However you view it, the fact is we all must, or have underwent its trails, in our way
The Myth of the American sleepover tries to (and in my humble opinion succeeds rather well) in conveying this fact and gives us a sometimes startling accurate insight into how we used to think, behave and what we used to aspire too. Told in an episodic fashion with no real main character or plot, the movie instead focuses on characters, all teenagers, during one night, specifically the last night of summer vacation and set in that most barren of wastelands, the white American suburbs as they try to fulfil their desire before summers end.
Being that there is no set story or plot the movie ops instead for a series of episodic tales or parables if you will, each one involving a character searching for something, typically that which all adolescents search for love, excitement, friendship, or even just to end the summer with a bang. Its all very nicely handled with the stories being loosely connected to one another and switching back and forth in a relatively seamless manner so that you are never confused as to whats going on or whose doing what. This is further helped by the slow pace of the movie which ensures that everything flows slowly but smoothly, almost like a dream. Indeed the noted sparsity of dialogue and the cinematography does give the whole movie a dreamlike effect as each character searches for that which they desire before the sun inevitably rises and the dream ends.
However this slow pace and lack of any complicated plot may be a turn off to some people and i would be lying by omission if i didn't say that a heavy tolerance to "whimsy" is needed to appreciate or even tolerate this movie, and while some be put off by the very "indie" feel, with people talking about their emotions while looking at the stars etc i would however encourage these people to look a little harder because if so they will find that this movie actually handles teenagers very realistically, all least compared to some supposed "indie teenager emotion movies" like Garden State for example. At certain points the movie achieves the highest praise one can bestow upon a film, being that you forget your watching actors in a movie and not real people just being filmed.
Indeed the acting in this movie was really quite excellent given the age of the actors, director David Robert Mitchell really manages to capture the awkwardness and conflicting desires that plague those lost in the void between childhood and adulthood. But best of all he manages to capture this without crossing that line and becoming too whimsical or indie. Your not for example, as so many of these types of movies make you, rolling your eyes in disgust or throwing up at the cheesy, right on the nose, "emotionial" dialogue. Instead its all subdued and tastefully done, and as long as you give it chance then you can really enjoy it or what it is.
On the flip side of that however, the subdued and quiet pace of the movie, while one of its many strengths is also its greatest weakness, the movie lacks enough of a punch or "oomph" if you will, while a nice watch its not terribly memorable, which is a shame because it has some good actors and was all handled rather well. But in the end its not enough to make it stay with you or to stand out as unique creation.
So overall i couldn't recommend this to anyone whose looking for action or comedy or zany antics because id be a great big liar. However I would recommend it to anyone who wants to take a walk down memory lane and relive those glorious or torturous years, and remember a time when the biggest worry you had was if the girl at the supermarket noticed you or not, or when a social gathering meant sleepovers at your friends house and every beer was a little can of illegal debauchery and summer was your kingdom and you its sovereign ruler.
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