It's the final semester before graduating from high school, and aspiring actress and good girl Alexa (Emmy Rossum), her outcast gay best friend Ben (Ashley Springer), and loner bad boy Johnny (Zach Gilford), go outside their comfort zones, and throw caution to the wind as they venture into unfamiliar young adult sexual grounds. A bumpy ride of high emotion, betrayal, heartbreak, and sexual experimentation. Written by
You can try and play all mature and worldly, but you're not. You're still the same scared, pathetic, perfect little girl.
And you're still the same bitter, lonely loser who can't stand to see me have a life because you've never had one.
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The movie is split into four acts. The first three tell the story from the perspective of each of the three main characters, respectively, and the last act is a kind of epilogue. The film is still linear though, meaning that while the second act shows a different perspective than the first, it's still a continuation of the story, rather than a restart from the beginning. The rest of the acts continue that way.
The first act had me wondering why I was putting myself through what seemed to be your run-of-the-mill teen drama that might as well have been an episode of The O.C. rather than a feature film. A typical high school "good girl" who always played it safe and never got into trouble starts questioning her value system. She wonders if being "bad" would benefit her, namely, to give her the life experience she needs in order to realize her dreams of becoming an actress. Her lifelong platonic male best friend is worried about her newfound rebelliousness, and he even feels betrayed by it.
Sometime during the second act is when this film started to deviate from anything I had expected. When the third act came, the story had gotten so messed up that I felt ashamed of my initial assumptions. I'm not even going to hint at what happens, because it might soften the impact of seeing it unfold on the screen. All I'll say is that it deals with questioning the seeming obviousness of people's sexuality and popularity. This turned out to be something of an artsy picture that didn't focus on typical Hollywood entertainment values. It's "smart", in that it's not always obvious what exactly is going on, and there's no voice-over to tell you what the characters are feeling. It's an original story that makes you think.
Was this movie good? Tough call. The acting is excellent and the production quality high. Some people might be bored or just confused by this, due to the strangeness and ambiguity. If you like a deviation now and then from the norm, you might appreciate it, and if you're into independent film, definitely give this a shot.
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