Alice, a ten-year-old girl, looks up to her 17-year-old, wild neighbor across the street. She leads a three-person cheering section as the teenager, named Sheryl, falls in love and has ...
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Alice, a ten-year-old girl, looks up to her 17-year-old, wild neighbor across the street. She leads a three-person cheering section as the teenager, named Sheryl, falls in love and has forbidden liaisons with a young man from the bowling alley. Eventually, Alice becomes instrumental, in spite of her parents' alarm, in helping the two lovers to resolve the difficulties of their relationship and run away together. In the process Alice herself becomes more mature.Written by
Warlen Bassham <email@example.com>
I first saw That Night in sixth or seventh grade, as I recall. Two terrible, terrible years in my life. This movie though, it really stuck out to me. Maybe it was solely because of the time period in which it was set in. I imagine had it taken place in contemporary times, I wouldn't have been quite as interested. Nonetheless, I thought this was a pretty good movie. Not the strongest writing. But it's good in some areas, and makes up for the rest with how it handles such confusion and emotions that we can all relate to.
The protagonist is Alice, a 10-year old girl who narrates the story of the summer of 1961. It was one of the most influential summers of her life. Alice is awestruck by her across the street neighbor Sheryl, a 17-year old girl who could best be defined as a free spirit. Alice adores everything about Sheryl, she's totally mesmerized by her. Enter Rick, a local troubled youth who Alice would turn to in hard times. Rick and Sheryl would begin a romance, and Alice would become friends with both of them. However, the neighborhood parents disapprove of Rick, and problems arise when Sheryl refuses to stop seeing him. Alice, perhaps out of her admiration of the two of them, actively pursues keeping the couple in tact. No matter what it takes.
That Night is a pretty solid coming-of-age film. Alice is torn between two worlds. That of the tumultuous relationship between her own friends (typical discussions about sex, body issues, etc) and that of the world of Sheryl and Rick. Alice, who can't understand her friends (or how young boys and girls treat each other on the verge of their sexual awakenings), romanticizes Sheryl and Rick's situation. However, she may not understand that world as well as she thinks either.
Alice is a very relateable character. But not just for women. I think most of us can understand how it was when we were younger, and we thought that we had simple solutions to complicated problems. At whatever point that it was when we decided that we were "grown-ups" trapped in children's bodies. And let's not forget of course, how we always wanted to preserve the fairy tale. I think this film captures all of these points very well.
However, this film does have it's problems. The biggest is that there are certain sub-plots which aren't covered enough. Another is that the dialog is lacking in certain areas as well. This is capped off with the frustration that this movie is only about 90 minutes long. Had they granted us an additional 30 minutes at least (to round out two full hours), we could have had better dialog between Alice and her father, and had a better understanding of the frustration she felt with him. We could have had more time spent on Alice and her school-age friends, and the confusion and disenchantment she felt with them. And perhaps we also could have been given more time with Sheryl and her mother, and had a stronger understanding for her mother's disliking of Rick. The plot can feel rather contrived at times, because the whole film feels rushed. To my understanding, the book was more detailed. So I don't understand why they would make a film that was a little too short to really give us stronger writing.
So I give this movie about a 7. Maybe that's being generous. However, the movie really shines in the areas in which it's good. It's worth a viewing if you're up for a coming-of-age or romantic drama set in the golden age of contemporary American society.
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