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|Index||11 reviews in total|
On the surface this seems like a simple, predictable film. It doesn't
have a grand storyline nor does the plot build up to a single defining
Essentially, this is a film about flawed characters who make flawed choices. They don't always say the right thing or solve all of their problems. They are simply human.
Danes is wonderful as the now 'grown up' teen mother, struggling with her own identity crisis as her daughter - the same age as her mother was when she was born - is too exploring her sexuality and considering her future. Bolger plays the role with enough restraint to avoid the teenager stereotype, whilst Marsden, although his scenes are brief, is so believable as the absent father.
I can see where this film could be seen as shallow and it's true that there are a few stronger issues that are touched on but not really developed (consent, domestic violence to name a few). However, in a way I appreciated how the plot continued on without delving into the complexities and our characters continued to make the impulsive and flawed decisions that make them as human and realistic as you or me - shaped by these things that have happened to them, but not defined.
Firstly, I need to say that I enjoyed this film, I did. It held my
attention and I felt satisfied afterward. Yes, it was mildly
predictable in places but not annoyingly so.
What did frustrate me though was the lack of depth. A couple of other reviewers mentioned this so I'm glad I'm not alone: There were so many issues that I thought were going to be explored further and just.... weren't. Even the ending, although mildly cathartic, left me with unanswered questions.
Still, taken at face value, the film was... nice.
Hmm... I'm realizing this review is a bit 'meah'; not really negative, not really positive, but that's a direct reflection of the film's content, so sorry!
As Cool as I Am isn't really a gripping film, and will likely be far
away from my favorites of the year, but in terms of trying to
revitalize the coming-of-age drama with a delightfully contemporary
idea and script is succeeds solely on that merit. It concerns Lucy
(Sarah Bolger), a well-mannered fourteen year old who has a lumberjack
father Chuck (James Marsden) who is away for long periods of time due
to work and her mother Lainee (Claire Danes), who might as well be her
age thanks to her attitude and approach to reality. Lucy always had the
idea that her family was "stable" in that they functioned like a normal
family. However, as she gets older, she realizes her family is a "real"
one, with problems and conflicts that are usually not instantly noticed
by kids. This whole idea of "stable" and "real" families is discussed
in the opening monologue, pretty much admitting the film will not be a
narrow look at this common issue that is quickly growing.
That issue is having a child at a young age. Chuck and Lainee had Lucy when they were both seventeen, making them not much older than her in retrospect, leaving most of their decisions to be rather impulsive and quite questionable. For such a contemporary issue - having children and kids young and, often, out of wedlock - this one is scarcely brought up and thrown into public eye. Director Max Mayer, of the 2009 sleeper-hit Adam, brings a mature and focused look to the subject by allowing each character some expression and a moment when their personality comes out.
Lucy is already becoming a young woman, and with an unstable family life and an absent father, this leads her on a path she wouldn't normally take. She becomes more flirtatious, acts differently around her guy friends, and on several occasions almost consents to sex. This plot alone wages the question "are teens more likely to become rebellious if they do not have both parents playing a significant role in their life?" When her father returns home, and realizes that Lucy has, for one, driven the car unsupervised after her mother arrives at an interview, and has gone on to kiss several different boys, he becomes mad and very violent out of nowhere. That's his moment to shine; would his anger be so prominent and consuming if he had been home consistently? The only other main character is the mother, whose reckless behavior is almost as bad as her husband's absence. She becomes flirtatious at the office, even so far as to have sex with a co-worker not long after beginning to work there. After finding this out, Lucy can use this as bait to justify her actions rather than be awkwardly silent when he mother ridicules her for her behavior. The character's actions are one big, tangled cycle that only fuel and unintentionally elaborate on each others decisions.
As Cool as I Am asks a lot of questions and, in the end, quietly leaves the audience with deteriorating optimism that maybe Lucy will end up unsatisfied later in life, and at only fourteen, this idea likely hasn't crossed her mind. Writer Virginia Korus Spragg does a smooth job at developing the characters on the surface and subtly evoking commentary on the new generation of kids, many of whom likely to be raised by a more uncertain, rushed generation of people. I see another cycle coming along.
Starring: Claire Danes, James Marsden, and Sarah Bolger, and Jon Tenney. Directed by: Max Mayer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this movie thinking that this movie is actually one of those
light-hearted family comedy-drama. I was pleasantly surprised that it
served more... much much more.
As the plot summary already contained, this movie is the coming-of-age tale of Lucy, a smart 15-year old girl who's a product of teenage pregnancy. Her father is pretty much absent most of the year because he has to work as a lumberjack somewhere. And while he is an absentee father, he is very much committed to provide for his family. As her dad (played by James Marden) grew up in an orphanage, he has a longing to have a traditional family where the mother stays at home while the father goes away to find livelihood. Her mother, having deprived of living a single life being married at an early age, tries to live the single life ---while trying to hold on to her family --- with disastrous consequences.
The first half of the movie started out fantastic, taking its time to establish the main players in Lucy's life which is mainly her parents and her best friend since they were kids, Kenny. Contrary to one of the user reviews here, Lucy and Kenny are not "unreal". Although they were not your typical average teenagers driven by raging hormones, these type of kids exist (I would know, I'm one of them). Their belief system were mainly shaped by the family they were born in. Kenny, a product of divorced parents looks forward to a relationship that will last but is very pragmatic which pretty much stops him from going for things he really wants. Lucy, having parents who were unprepared to be parents, has to overcompensate for her parent's irresponsibility. However, as any teenager who goes through self-discovery, she eventually started exploring her sexuality and romantic relationships unguided. And as any teenager who goes through bouts of angst and anger, she also started unraveling.
All of these drew me in. Sarah Bolger, who plays Lucy, embodied the part so well that it's quite hard not to fall for her--- flaws and all. Claire Danes and James Marden, for the most part, were effective and sometimes brilliant.
However, the movie started to fell apart when it tried to do too much. And instead of focusing on one theme... it started adding in heavy sub-plots that didn't go anywhere or if it did, it didn't come to a satisfying close that will eventually support the main plot. And when you start stacking more and more, it's bound to fall apart. Not that the sub-plots were bad. Had this been a TV mini-series, it would have been more effective because these sub-plots could have been explored at length. But considering the medium, it just weighted the movie down... hard...
And it's an extreme disservice because the first half of the movie was really good. There were some well put together which showed moments of brilliance. As much as I want to remember the movie for it, I can't erase from memory the last 30 minutes and especially that ending that wasted great talents like Peter Fonda. And suddenly, the movie ends with a whimper... as if the writer just ran out of paper to write on. In coming of age movies like this one, it's important that the main characters have to come face to face with the need to evolve and move from point a to b. And although the ending somehow shows us that Lucy finds peace in surrendering to her fate. It felt abrupt and forced.
Honestly, I would give this a movie a 6/10 but the 5.5 rating is I think too low for a movie that actually showed a lot of promise. So never mind the last 30 minutes of the movie, I still fell in love with Lucy so I'm giving this a 7.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sixteen-year-old Lucy (Sarah Bolger) is a tomboy. She gets on well with
her father (James Marsden) but is frequently separated from him for
months on end when he goes to work in Canada. Her relationship with her
mother (Claire Danes) is easy-going and she takes care of most things
around the house. She tunes into her sexuality and her not so 'stable'
family dynamics. She develops a relationship with her best friend Kenny
(Thomas Mann) and starts to realize that her parents' marriage is not
as solid as she had previously imagined. She notices that her father's
extended stays away from the family are not typical, and that her
mother does not pine for her father as much as she herself does.
After watching this movie, I feel like Sarah Bolger is a naturally talented actress. She can hold your attention the entire time she's on screen. The rest of the actors are all fine. This is a small compelling chapter in a young girl's life. Lucy doesn't shun the mainstream stereotypical look of girls, as much as she naturally develops into her own person with her own traits. She realizes that she doesn't have a 'stable' family per se and that she may be the only adult in her family. The parents, their actions, struggles, the guys at school, her falling in mutual love with the one person she knows she can trust outside of her family, her love for cooking, everything is quite realistic and a little depressing at times.
Most of the characters are nuanced and as the story progresses, their outbursts come naturally. Each one is given enough time and material to let their personalities come through. Their actions aren't glorified, but neither are they demonized. It just comes off as understandable. Rape is one thing I simply cannot stand and Lucy should have made a complaint to make the boy pay, but we have seen/heard of that course of inaction a lot of times in real life. Her father telling the story of a mutilated saint just came off as ignorant of reality, but also highlighted his upbringing and the guilt he felt for having a child at such a young age. After Roger Ebert's passing, there's only one critic that I trust. He hasn't reviewed this movie, but I fail to understand the disdain and vitriol spewed against this charming coming of age tale by most of the other self-anointed 'critics'. This isn't a path-breaking tale, but it doesn't mean it doesn't have its own appeal.
"If memory is malleable then the future is too." Lucy is a sixteen year old girl who is too smart for her own good. She spends her free time learning how to cook and hanging out with her friend Kenny. Her mother (Danes) and father (Marsden) had her when they were young and not ready for that responsibility. Now with her dad gone all but 4 times a year and her mom acting like a kid herself Lucy is left to discover life for herself. This is a movie that again proves my point that a movie can be entertaining and worth watching involving great acting rather then special effects. This is a movie along the line of What Maisie Knew only involving an older child rather then a 6 year old. Parents that should not have been allowed to have children and a child who is more mature then the parents. You really root for Lucy the entire time and by the time the end come you feel extremely sorry for her as well as relief. That is a hard combination to achieve but that's what great writing and acting does. Overall, a great movie that is pretty depressing but I recommend this. I give it a B+.
7.1 of 10. As teen girl films go this year, I prefer The Truth About
Emanuel (2013). By comparison, this is clearly an attempt to do another
teen girl perspective film. In many ways, it succeeds in addressing
important issues while still creating something amusing and sexy teens
can relate to. Unfortunately, it tries to do too much and cover too
One of the many good artistic things it does that is often failed in other films is having the lead character speak in the background for added context. Here, it's done the way it should be, like hearing the character's thoughts and not trying to use it to tell the story.
Some other films this reminds me of and those who enjoy this (or those) will enjoy: Drool (2009), Rocket Science (2007), Snow Angels (2007), Lars and the Real Girl (2007), Teeth (2007), Poker House (2008), Precious (2009), and Kids (1995).
This movie was not what I was expecting by far! It gave me more of a Non-Mainstream type of Mother/Daughter Film! Which was highly unexpected, but very Welcomed! lol There are a lot of these types of movies out now, they all seem to have either one out of two types of plots. 1. The Mom is a crappy mother, Which is a broad term but you get the idea, she is in one way or another not a good mother to her child. Therefore leaving this child to be more mature for her age, and the story line follows her around in a coming of age type of movie usually. Or 2. The Child is a defiant one, a trouble maker to say the least, leaving the poor mother/father or both stressed and/or worried about their child, and how it's their fault, etc. etc. etc. This movie is a semi-mixture of both of those scenarios, which I enjoyed being surprised by! It made the movie more life-like, more likely to happen in this day and age. So if you are a semi-younger Mother of a pre-teen or teenage daughter, I highly recommend this movie to YOU! As It's nice sometimes to watch movies you, and your heart, and home life can relate to! At least for me it is.
ah! no words for this movie. What to say, acting was perfect, direction was super perfect and the best part; the movie held my emotions till the very end. Based on the book by Pete Fromm, this movie is a very well placed movie. A story about a girl who faces problems because of her parents bad relations and a friend cum lover who is always with her but then the movie takes a turn and changes her life all the way round and it just gets worse and worse. The movie is depressing at sometimes but lets just face it that these kind of depressions are in everybody lives. This movie is really something and i would recommend every teen to specially watch this movie and learn how to be tough in worst situations. Well done Mr. Max Mayer (DIRECTOR), Mr. Pete Fromm for your beautiful novel. And Love You Sarah Bolger for your fantastic acting. I don't even touch you. I have to learn a lot from you! My acting is nothing in front of yours. Congrats! :) 9/10 :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've always liked Claires Danes acting, but unfortunately that's pretty
much going to the last positive thing I have to say in this review. I
thought the script was so sophomoric and crass that it's as if it was
written by a 14 year old. To make matters worse it only gets worse as
the film progresses. There's also a number of vomiting scenes and puke
references if that interests you.
Danes portrays Lainee, one of the most irresponsible mothers you'd ever want to meet. In one scene, after driving herself and her 15 year old daughter Lucy (Sarah Bolger) to Lainee's job, she throws her daughter the car keys and says it's OK to drive yourself home. When Lucy reminds her mother she doesn't have a license, Lainee replies no problem- you're a natural! In another scene Lainee returns at 5 a.m. after having sex with her telemarketing trainer and tells Lucy she fell asleep at her desk at work, on a Sunday no less. At the end of the film Lainee evens tops her previous antics by doing something to Lucy that I could only shake my head in disbelief.
Chuck (James Marsden) is Lainee's husband, and Lucy's father. He's a lumberjack who only comes home a few times a year and only for a week's duration. It seems like Chuck's favorite thing is to quote graphic Bible torture scenes when he needs to get a point across.
Despite all this, Lucy is still a smart and decent teenager, who loves to cook and watch Mario Batali shows on The Food Network. Bolger, I thought gave a good performance despite the drawbacks of what she had to work with. She also is trying to cope with her budding sexual relationship with her childhood friend Kenny (Thomas Mann), as well as other male teens coming on to her.
As mentioned, the end of the movie left me shaking my head and I thought was terribly cruel emotionally. However, one bright spot was a quick cameo appearance by the great actor Peter Fonda right at the finish of the film.
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