IMDb > Dare (2009) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Dare More at IMDbPro »

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]
Index 19 reviews in total 

40 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

An atypical coming-of-age teen drama

Author: equazcion ( from NYC
3 February 2010

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.

Was the above review useful to you?

18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Users and losers

Author: Justin Stokes from Cleburne, TX
3 August 2010

Unique coming of age drama about three high school seniors and the shady relationship that develops between them. Alexa is a wannabe actress who becomes uncomfortable at the very mention of sex. She hangs out with her childhood friend Ben, who's only friend is Alexa. They're both in drama class (Ben handles the stage lights) with Johnny, the most popular jock in school. He's only there because he has to be, much to the chagrin of Alexa since he's her acting partner. Following a truly rotten performance, a popular actor gives Alexa a piece of his mind, basically telling her that only through proper life experience will she ever have a remote chance of being a good actress. Devastated, she decides to get some experience through Johnny while perhaps escalating their on-stage chemistry in the process. None of this sits well with Ben, who has his own encounter with Johnny. It all leads to an unexpected triangle where the most unlikely person might wind up getting hurt.

Early on, I figured this would be your typical quirky teen indie, but it takes a turn into darker territory. It ends up taking on a more psychological route as it tackles themes of discovering yourself sexually and popularity sometimes only being skin deep. Emmy Rossum, who hasn't been in many films worthy of her talent, is solid as the naive good girl turned manipulative user. The change in her character may be a little abrupt, but she handles it well. Saying that, I still think the writers could've spent more time gradually exploring her transformation. Ashley Springer is okay as Ben, but his character turns into too much of a perverse oddball by film's end. Good choice for the role of outsider, though. The real star of the picture is Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights fame. He gives a layered turn as the tortured Johnny. It's a very different role from his awkward, somewhat shy FNL character, and he shows that he has the depth to pull it off. Rooney Mara also makes an impression as Courtney, Alexa's best friend. Looking at her IMDb page after viewing this film, I was very surprised to see that she's playing Nancy in the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake.

While the acting is mostly strong, I will say that Alexa and Ben are hard to relate to as the film goes on. Again, a little more time on their transformations would have been nice. The ending also leaves something to be desired. It just isn't wrapped up in a very satisfying manner. As it stands, Dare is far from great. The story and characters both could have been better developed, but I'd say it's worth a look for those who don't mind teen dramas that are a bit off of the beaten path.

Was the above review useful to you?

9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

theater as metaphor

Author: Roland E. Zwick ( from United States
24 January 2011

In "Dare," Alexa (played by the winning Emmy Rossum) is an inexperienced, socially inept teenaged actress who decides to become a "bad girl" so she'll be more in touch with the characters she's playing (her current role is that of the world-weary Blanche Dubois in a high school production of "A Streetcar Named Desire"). Not only does this open up a whole new realm of experiences for the young lady herself, but it leads to a chain reaction for the two most important people in her life: her geeky best friend, Ben (Ashley Springer), who becomes seemingly jealous when Alexi takes up with the school's brooding, arrogant jock, Johnny (Zach Gilford); and Johnny himself who reveals some surprising truths about himself before the story's over. "Dare" is all about the roles we take on at various points in our lives, and how different we can appear to the world once the masks we are wearing are stripped off - thereby making the theatrical context the story uses a metaphor for real life.

Writer David Brind has divided his story into three parts, each focused on a different main character (Alexi comes first, followed by Ben, then Johnny). Since this has been largely conceived and constructed as a parable, the narrative lacks credibility on occasion and the storytelling does become a bit heavy-handed at times, but some genuinely unexpected plot twists, a blunt and honest approach towards sex and sexuality, an intriguing look at the boundaries of friendship, and an overall complexity of character make the film difficult to dismiss out of hand. In fact, its strangeness is probably its most compelling feature. Brind and director Adam Salky are obviously going for something offbeat and unusual here, and it is all to the movie's advantage ("Dare" is actually a fleshed-out version of a short film Salky made a few years earlier).

Fans of "Friday Night Lights" will be intrigued at seeing Gilford in a role that appears at first blush to be diametrically opposed to the sweet and likable Matt Saracen he plays on the series, though, as the story progresses and more layers are peeled off the character, we discover that Matt and Johnny actually have quite a bit in common with one another - mainly their feeling that they are largely unloved and alone in the world (Matt just deals with it better).

In addition to the three striking leads, Alan Cumming and Sandra Bernhard lend their support to the project in small but significant roles.

Despite its imperfections, this tale of youthful self-discovery emerges as a thoughtful and insightful look at the often painful, confusing, fumbling - yet wholly necessary - efforts teenagers must go through to find their place in the world.

Was the above review useful to you?

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Not your typical teen drama

Author: Ced Yuen from United Kingdom
3 March 2011

A pop-art animation shows a pair of hands, wrapped around an iPhone. On the screen, the thumbs tap out the opening credits. Occasionally, the hands reject incoming calls from Mom. They also accidentally type out things like "props!" and "OMG". It is a rather embarrassing attempt to seem down with the kids (or is that kidz?) but thankfully, it is also misleading. The film itself has an entirely different tone. 'Dare' is not another typical teen-rom-rom about puberty and trying to get laid.

Alexa (Emmy Rossum) is an innocent, hard-working drama student. After failing to impress a big theatre star (Alan Cumming), she is advised to experience new things in order to improve her acting. She decides to seduce her drama partner, Johnny (Zach Gilford), who acts tough to hide his sensitivity. Ben (Ashley Springer), Alexa's gay best friend, is jealous of their relationship and decides to have a go at Johnny too. Their relationships soon become an uncomfortable and confusing love-triangle.

The film is divided into three parts, each one following a different main character. The more focused characterisation allows for a more effective display of all the awkwardness and insecurity associated with adolescence. Each of the main characters is given their own screen-time to grow and develop, and as a result there is much more substance.

'Dare' is at its strongest when the audience gets to see the characters go about their own lives, without the hassle of narrative development. On their own, the three individual segments of the film could have easily been short, John Hughes-esque films about different teenagers and their approaches to the issues of growing up.

The character of Alexa goes from innocent, uptight bookworm to sexy party girl too quickly, but Rossum plays both 'versions' just fine. Springer does a good job portraying Ben's struggle to deal with his homosexuality, and it is touching to see him find confidence in himself. Gilford gives the most convincing and layered performance of all as Johnny. He channels Marlon Brando and James Dean in his sensitive tough-guy act and it is effective, especially when it becomes apparent that he has severe rejection issues.

The problem with this kind of narrative structure is that there's too much characterisation for the love-triangle storyline. There is too much attention on each individual personality and not enough on mixing those personalities together. The characters end up changing too quickly, and it is clear that this is merely for the sake of pushing the love story along.

The film's attempt to be a coming-of-age drama and a love story at the same time backfires. It is too much of a character piece for the love-triangle story not to seem forced. By the time the abrupt ending comes around, one can't help but feel cheated, or disappointed by the wasted potential.

As a character study 'Dare' certainly excels, but as a narrative it is never compelling enough to be remembered. This film is likely to resonate with anybody who has ever been a teenager, but just because it resonates does not guarantee that it will be memorable. For his first feature-length effort, Adam Salky has done a decent job. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with in the future.

Was the above review useful to you?

9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A surprisingly good elaboration of a favorite gay short film.

Author: Havan_IronOak from NYC/FL
4 April 2010

Dare was a genuinely surprising film. Having seen the short years ago at a gay film fest I thought that I knew what the story would be about and I was fully prepared to be disappointed that the feature wasn't as good as the short. Boy was I wrong! The film took me places I didn't expect and left me with images and ideas that I'll remember for a long time. There were likable, realistic characters that I genuinely cared about and a well written feature-length storyline that neatly incorporated the short that preceded it.

There were spots where the film showed its indie-film roots but, for the most part, the scenes were studio grade. The dialog was mostly well written, the actors knew their craft, and the director succeeded in bringing all of the filmic elements together better than most works of this kind. The overall tenor of the film was moderately light-hearted considering the subject matter and does a nice job of balancing the problems of high-school life with its promise.

Zach Gilford did a great job and turned a character that I thought of as a bit of a cad in the short into a sympathetic waif.

This is NOT a major studio release and if you go into it looking for that you'll be disappointed but if you'd like to see a nice small movie that treats issues of being gay in high-school as just one issue that today's youth deal with, then this may be the film for you.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not A Typical Teen Movie

Author: Tim Allen from United States
19 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wouldn't call this a typical teen angst movie. It has some interesting twists and a surprising bit of innocence that you wouldn't guess from the trailers and descriptions.

Zach Gilford, Ashley Springer and Ana Gasteyer were the highlights of the film for me. (I'm not normally a fan of Ana's work, but I liked her in this.)

Warning, the rest is a potential Spoiler...

Alan Cumming's role is quite short, but his his character's words perhaps explain more about the actual story than anyone else's. If you watch the movie and find yourself scratching your head when the end credits roll, go back and watch his scenes. How is a great actor created? Do life lessons that just happen to you naturally because of who you are have a bigger impact on your life than ones you unnaturally try to force to occur? I think those questions play a big part in how the characters end up.

Overall I think it's a good movie, a bit more complicated than some, no easy answers or simple conclusion. If you're the kind of person who tries hard to present yourself as something that you're not, you may appreciate this movie more than others.

Was the above review useful to you?

8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Quirky, yet interesting sexual awakening

Author: RomanticPhilosopher from United States
21 March 2010

I would recommend this film for anyone who finds themselves interested in sexuality in general or especially teen sexual awakenings. The plot itself is not extremely gripping but the actors bring a certain raw, candid look at "graduating" adolescence and embarking upon the lifelong trip of finding one's identity.

Those who wish a typical Hollywood or status quo film experience should stay away from this one as it's quite creative and caters to those seeking intellectual or romantic pondering. So while this film is indeed interesting the average movie-watcher may find it lacking for entertainment value.

Was the above review useful to you?

awkward and uncertain sex triangle

Author: SnoopyStyle
3 April 2016

Alexa Walker (Emmy Rossum) is a stressed-out high school drama geek. To her dismay, she's paired up with jock Johnny Drake (Zach Gilford) who doesn't care about their acting assignment. Even worst, former student and star actor Grant Matson (Alan Cumming) is impressed with him rather than her. She spirals downwards and ends up in detention with Johnny. She goes to her friend Courtney (Rooney Mara)'s party and has sex with Johnny. Her best friend Ben Berger (Ashley Springer) gets jealous. This becomes a series of sexual experimentations.

The structure of this movie is divided in three. The first part follows Alexa, the second part follows Ben, and the third part follows Johnny. It leaves the flow disjointed and the emotions disconnected. Alexa's part is standard high school drama. I really like her scene with Cumming. The Ben part is uncertain. By the time it's Johnny's part, I am lost emotionally with Alexa. The three leads are relatively good. Gilford puts up the most compelling performance. This film has an awkward, uncertain tone that keeps it from finding its feet.

Was the above review useful to you?

A remake of a short-form film by the same creators

Author: queernudist from United States
16 September 2015

I only give this film a 6 because, having seen the short-form original on the BOYS LIFE 5 DVD compilation, I generally prefer it over this feature film. The only point in this film's favor is that it develops the character of Johnny Drake, who was virtually raised in an emotional vacuum. The creators totally blow the ending of this film, by not having Johnny develop a relationship with either Alexa or Ben that satisfies his desire to be loved. The short-form film never touches on this theme, and I believe is better because of it. That film at least leaves the viewer wondering what might happen in the future with Ben, but neither film leaves the viewer with a satisfactory resolution. Believe me, the version of the story told in 20 minutes works better from a cinematic perspective that this drawn-out version of the same story.

Was the above review useful to you?

Stellar cast takes a flimsy script and runs with it

Author: The_late_Buddy_Ryan from UWS, NYC, USA
3 August 2015

Signing up Zack Gilford ("Friday Night Lights") and Emmy Rossum {'Shameless") to play a teenage Stanley and Blanche must've seemed like a real casting coup, but I'm thinking this film would've been better off with two younger, less charismatic stars—their characters are supposed to be slowly groping their way (in more ways than one) towards an adult identity, and these two seem like they're already fully formed. Still, their performances are the best thing about "Dare," which in spite of a promising storyline, still ends up feeling kind of unfocused and generic.

The unstable triad of high-school player Johnny (ZG), ambitious art girl Alexa (ER) and "drama-club tech nerd" Ben (Ashley Springer) shakes out pretty much the way you think it will, though the ending's a nice surprise, and the most convincing scenes are the ones where the three leads interact with other characters, not with each other—Johnny goes off on a boorish classmate and on his therapist; Ben tries hard to keep his mother (also a therapist) from "analyzing"; prim Alexa talks smack with her dissipated BF (Rooney Mara).

Excellent supporting cast—Cady Huffman turns up briefly as Alexa's pediatrician, Alan Cumming's a troublemaking HS alumnus and Johnny's therapist is Sandra Bernhard, no less; nice soundtrack and Philly Main Line locations (Johnny's absentee father has the perfect McMansion with lawyer foyer). "Dare"'s certainly not all that it might have been, but it's still quite watchable; turns up on cable a lot these days.

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Ratings Awards
External reviews Parents Guide Official site
Plot keywords Main details Your user reviews
Your vote history