Say When – Review
In a day and age in which conveyer belt cinema is the norm and mass-produced Miles Teller romcoms, found footage horror flicks and Liam Neeson action movies fly into multiplexes with the same sort of alarming frequency with which Dwayne Johnson signs up for franchises; it’s always nice to see a film which can successfully take an established and worn concept by the ankles and flip it on its head. Obviously this phenomenon is nothing new, most of my generation have fond memories, for example, of the still superb From Dusk Till Dawn doing exactly that, but it’s such a rarity that on the rare occasion anybody tries it, the sheer effort alone is worth applause. Which brings us to Say When, a sugary bubblegum fluff girl comedy dressed up as a quintessentially American indie flick.
Kiera Knightley takes centre stage as Megan, a frustrated twentysomething firmly in the throes of a quarter-life crisis, who skips out on her best friend’s garish and hackneyed wedding only to encounter a group of high school reprobates who welcome her with open arms. Hiding away from her life with ringleader Annika (a suitably likeable Chloë Grace Moretz); Megan soon finds solace in her new BFF’s world weary single-dad Craig (Sam Rockwell), whose gruff and misanthropic attitude prove to be the perfect foil. But nothing can last forever, and Megan soon finds herself torn between her unorthodox hideaway and the real life she longs so desperately to flee.
Released in the US under the bizarre moniker Laggies, Say When’s greatest trump card is without doubt the thoroughly engaging yet uncharacteristic (of the genre) direction of indie-darling Lynn Shelton. With only the direction and style separating the obviously candy-floss comedy from the brilliantly quirky little film it actually is, Shelton’s stylistic flip of the material works absolute wonders. Coupled with some charmingly electric chemistry between Knightley and Rockwell, Say When lives up to the wide-eyed grin its marketing would suggest. Some razor sharp dialogue and an overriding sense of fun are clearly the movie’s most marketable qualities, but between Shelton’s very skilful directorial gimmickry and the terrific interplay between the leads, it’s a good time for all.
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Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell