tue 19/11/2019

Say When | reviews, news & interviews

Say When

Say When

Keira Knightley shines in Lynn Shelton's quarter-life crisis comedy

Chloë Grace Moretz and Keira Knightley: Girls just want to have fun?

Pretty in Pink featured an interesting example of female friendship between a teenager and a grown woman. A record shop owner imparts motherly advice to her employee while also getting to grips with her own identity. In a similar manner, Lynn Shelton’s indie comedy (which was written by YA author Andrea Siegel) pairs up Keira Knightley and Chloë Grace Moretz, but shifts the focus away from teen angst to tackle the quarter-life crisis from the point of view of a woman who decides she needs to find herself 10 years after graduating from high school

When Anthony (Mark Webber) proposes to Megan (Keira Knightley) due to nothing more than an overwhelming desire to fit in with the rest of their group of friends, he starts a chain reaction which leads Megan to seek refuge with erudite teen Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz). Sent into a tailspin at the prospect of getting married, Megan tells Anthony she needs to take a week-long retreat but instead ends up crashing at Annika’s place and reaching back to her youth. Megan in turn finds a new friend in Annika’s father Craig (Sam Rockwell, pictured below), to whom she openly admits all her worst secrets.

Megan runs away from her close-knit group of friends who are all either settling happily into married life or on their way there and , though Siegel does poke fun at the conveyor belt marriage, she is surprisingly generous with her supporting characters. Knightley's energetic performance is entirely endearing; she bounces around in a beautifully shot wedding scene - which boasts the backdrop of Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle - like Lewis Carroll's Alice learning all manner of shocking new things.

Sam rockwell laggies say whenKnightley shows off her comic chops as the cynical and neurotic Megan and she’s really rather funny. Siegel has written a witty, charming character for her to have some fun with and at the same time explore female arrested development. Likewise, Moretz is given a role that allows her to flourish. The two have great chemistry together. Rockwell brings his usual charismatic flair to his turn as a single father and chatty divorce lawyer. Previously, Shelton has directed from her own shorter scripts, in films such as Humpday and Your Sister's Sister, and left her actors to improvise. This marks the first time she has worked from someone else’s script and its traditional structure results in some loss of her usual naturalistic style yet still allows her to craft convincingly intimate moments.

Despite sticking close to formula, Say When makes a refreshing alternative to the man-child shtick of Adam Sandler. The simple gender role reversal and an eccentric lead performance which doesn't rely on cheap gags only further highlight the desperate need to shake things up. Shelton and Siegel make a great writer/director team who skilfully blend mainstream comedy appeal with genuine warmth and prove to be a positive addition to the romantic comedy genre.

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Say When

Shelton and Siegel make a great writer/director team who skilfully blend mainstream comedy appeal with genuine warmth


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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