For the third year running, the New Year brings us another terrific film centred on a teenage girl. Last year it was Saoirse Ronan in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, in 2017 it was Hailee Steinfeld in Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen. In 2019 it’s Bo Burham’s Eighth Grade. And that a man has managed to capture the awkwardness of a teenage girl so brilliantly is astounding. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Eighth Grade (2018)
The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig, 2016)
Teen films are often guilty pleasures. They tend to tick the boxes of every cliché, and while they often have an audience willing to eat them all up, they are rarely critically acclaimed. Occasionally there are exceptions; Tina Fey’s Mean Girls – based on the parenting book, Queen Bees and Wannabes – tore down the very real destructive girl clans that exist in every school; 2013’s The Spectacular Now focused on the misery behind the bravado of a popular guy and the influence of parenting on emotional development. Now we have another to rival them all with The Edge of Seventeen. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Edge of Seventeen
Paper Towns (Jake Schreier, 2015)
The teen drama is a fickle beast. One minute it has your heart bursting with nostalgia, and then the next has you groaning at the utter lameness captured by the screenplay. And while this would often be put down to the screenwriter, recent releases would display a lack of consistency in this respect. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber brought us a beauty in their adaptation of Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, but there was no hiding lame dialogue in their screenplay of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. The pair have teamed up again to adapt Green’s Paper Towns, and the odds did not appear to be in their favour. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Paper Towns
The DUFF (Ari Sandel, 2015)
Based on Kody Keplinger’s young adult novel, The DUFF is the most recent addition to the teen comedy genre, which seems to have been neglected in recent years to make way for more dramatic teen fare about vampires (Twilight), dystopian futures (The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner series), and dying teenagers (The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay). Films such as Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, and anything with Kirsten Dunst circa 1998-2002 still hold a special place in my heart and despite being past the age of the target audience for these films, I still relish the return of the teen comedy. The DUFF isn’t quite up there, but maybe that’s the nostalgia talking (and if you talk to a Gen-Xer nothing is likely to have beaten John Hughes’ earlier classics such as The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). The DUFF is likely to resonate with today’s youth, though whether it reaches the heights of any of the aforementioned comedies is debatable. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The DUFF
The Maze Runner (Wes Ball, 2014)
I remember as a child going into a maze at a park and getting frustrated by all the dead ends. Well that ain’t got nothing on the maze in this film, because if you don’t get out in time, YOU DIE! And you have to run, and I really, really, hate running. I also have no sense of direction which might make things a tad difficult. In that sense, this film depicted my version of hell, but it was also a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Maze Runner
If I Stay (R. J. Cutler, 2014)
Does anyone else find it disconcerting how obsessed teenagers are with tragic romances? When I was a teen I was into Sweet Valley High, The Olsen Twins, and 10 Things I Hate About You. I had a crush on Robbie from Home and Away who was pretty much the most innocent, loveliest boy of all time – although there was that one time he stepped on a syringe – panic alert! (Relax, he was fine). Continue reading FILM REVIEW: If I Stay
The Fault in Our Stars (Josh Boone, 2014)
Based on the book by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars follows sixteen year old Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), who meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) at a cancer support group.
Divergent (Neil Burger, 2014)
Following in the footsteps of successful book to film adaptations of young adult trilogies such as Twilight and The Hunger Games, comes Divergent, the first of the Divergent Series written by Veronica Roth. I had mixed expectations for this one – the comparisons with The Hunger Games were definitely appealing, but I had heard less than favourable reports about the books, and the teaser trailer looked pretty atrocious (it involves probably the worst scene in the film).