• Name: How to Talk to Girls at Parties
• Year: 2017
• Country: USA, UK
• Director: John Cameron Mitchell
• Main cast: Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, Alex Sharp
• Runtime: 102 minutes
• Production company: Little Punk, See-Saw Films
With a title like this, I guess one could expect to find a silly teen comedy romance. Well, in fact, it is! But How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017) is more than that. First of all, it’s created as a mere entertainment product, the kind that wants to put a smile on the face of the audience, and after the watching one can comment it with friends. To me, it worked, so mission accomplished!
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017) is first presented like some kind of British punk teen comedy, opening with a timeless classic like New Rose by The Damned (perhaps not by the name, but almost everybody of you surely has listened to this song at least a couple of times). But soon, what seems to be a pleasant typical comedy starts to become bizarre. But not in the kind of weird experimental film, not at all. And I don’t want to spoil the reason because when I watched this movie I really didn’t know what to expect. And that twist of the plot was a nice surprise.
This movie is based on a short story by underground author Neil Gaiman, an expert in fantasy, science fiction and dark comedy. John Cameron Mitchell, perhaps better known for his awarded drama romance Shortbus (2006), co-adapts the screenplay and directs the film. Besides the fact of being an American filmmaker, he manages to capture that essence of the new generation of brit punks, again singing out loud the “no future” motto and living a life of sex, alcohol, punk shows and the sentiment of being at a loss. Okay, this might not be dark decadent England under Margaret Thatcher, but it neither is paradise.
The movie is visually attractive, and the editing is dynamic enough to keep the interest along the whole running time. That’s a good achievement if we take into consideration that although the script has some good moments and the plot twists and surprises are well located and developed, the story is not the most astonishing one. The duo formed by young actors Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp work with the perfect dose of chemistry and charisma that an energetic movie like this needs. With the special mention of the cast surprise of Nicole Kidman playing Queen Boadicea, the punk matriarch, a role very far from the typical square roles she has us accustomed to seeing her play. Another nice surprise indeed.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017) premiered at Cannes Film Festival 2017 and received a quite negative response. Also, the media didn’t react very positively to the movie. The Hollywood Reporter stated “despite the charming characters of Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman, its attempts to add political substance feels less than half-cooked and in effect sacrifices narrative cohesion and overcomplicates Neil Gaiman‘s 18-page story”. Well, what do you want me to say, I saw the movie as a good piece of entertainment and I had a pretty good time watching its over an hour and half of length. Also did my friends at the screening. Perhaps it is because we saw it at the Sitges Film Festival, a very much appreciated setting than Cannes for a silly movie of this sort. For me, it’s not a mandatory flick, but absolutely recommendable.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3859310
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