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Nils Jørgen Kaalstad,
Mikkel Bratt Silset,
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Thirteen-year-old Jesse wants to be an artist, but believes that his mundane middle-class Toronto life has left him unprepared. After reading a book on what it takes to be a "true-artist", he sets out looking for risk, ecstasy, wildness and women. Amy George is a microbudget independent drama about the time in a boy's life when he's at his least likeable. Written by
The awkwardness of late childhood without the polish or glamor.
There is something undeniably authentic about Amy George. Considering how well-worn the traditional "coming of age" tale is, and the great expanse of modern indie takes on the theme, perhaps the film's sincerity is it's most remarkable feat. You might not believe every word a character says or every event that happens, but you do believe that this is what adolescence feels like. Amy George strips away the Michael Cera/Jesse Eisenberg glamorization of awkward and instead reminds us of how it actually felt to go to a middle school dance.
There is an undeniable gulf between the film's visuals and its writing; while the cinematography is approached with a mature artistry the dialogue is clunky at times and the story's structure prefers to linger rather than maintain a steady pace. Interestingly, the dissonance does not feel out of sync with the heart of the film. Jesse, the teen-aged protagonist, would seem completely out of place delivering the well-polished lines of Amy George's Hollywood-friendly equivalent. As every shot of the film displays, Jesse's Toronto is a beautiful place, but at thirteen-years-old he doesn't quite know how to express himself, let alone the beauty around him.
Any of the film's flaws are easily forgivable due to how delicately connected they are to Amy George's greatest and most satisfying merits. After all, being a teenager never really felt like Juno or an episode of Glee. We said stupid things, thought we understood more than we did, and for the most part struggled through the moody atmosphere. The power of Amy George is the ability to earnestly look back at that time in our lives without the taint of nostalgia and remember, or perhaps learn for the first time, the lessons those years bring.
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