ALMOST the weekend, readers! THAT has GOT to be a very good thing! Especially when it means…..time to see more films! And while that WILL be the case these next few days ideally, one thing I was glad to see was that once again, On Demand has allowed me to catch what I call a “carry-over” new release indie film that I missed late last year but has NOT come out in DVD yet…so…counting it toward THIS year’s offerings, I FINALLY can bring you MY take on “Laggies”.
SEE THE TRAILER HERE
Actress and Director Lynn Shelton brings this tale to the screen and initially begins with a montage of quick scenes involving a group of high school friends coming from their prom and heading out into the night to, perhaps, achieve at least SOME mischief. This IS ultimately gained, along with the random talk about what the future may hold. Fast forward 10 years and we center in on one of these individuals, Megan (Keira Knightley), who has found herself a bit out of the loop in the same group of now adult women and still friends Allison (Ellie Kemper), Danielle (Kirsten deLohr Helland), and Savannah (Sara Coates), all of whom have moved on in life. Despite attempts by her Dad (Jeff Garlin) and live-in boyfriend Anthony (Mark Webber) to push her to better herself and effectively grow up, we are privy to more and more situations that actually scare her off more than help. When a final straw comes about, Megan decides to take a little “vacation” from the realities she faces by telling a lie to Anthony. Through this decision and subsequent actions, Megan ends up encountering and ultimately befriending a high school girl, Annika (Chloe Grace-Moretz), along with others in her circle including best friend Misty (Kaitlyn Dever) and a boy she likes, Junior (Daniel Zovatto). Drawn back into the freedom of her younger years by hanging out with Annika, things take another turn when meeting Annika’s divorce-lawyer father, Craig (Sam Rockwell), who is naturally leery of Megan’s presence until he finally gets to know her more and accepts her in his and Annika’s life. As more events unfold over the course of the week-long period of her self-imposed exile, Megan’s involvement in their lives deepens as she is able to help Annika get through some teen-related issues while helping Craig come out of his rather lonely and isolated world, having closed himself off in the wake of being left by ex-wife Bethany (Gretchen Mol). Through the process of friendship and opening up, ALL of them begin to learn more and more about each other and themselves, especially Megan, as she is forced to truly look at where she’s at, what she actually HASN’T done in life by running away and not taking responsibility, then realizing that taking the initiative and standing up for what you want is all a part of a bigger world she now accepts and sees.
Much like other relatively recent indie “dramedy” efforts like “Enough Said” and “Begin Again“, this film actually captured me a lot more than I would have expected. I attribute this to what a lot of indie films do…RELY on the writing, story itself, and acting to carry the film….and this was very solidly accomplished here. For the comic elements in it, it was SMART, ADULT level comedy which I greatly admire the effort for. And it simply felt real…down to earth, grounded, and dealt with the character’s issues in a way I feel we can really RELATE to. Knightley is PERFECT for roles like this, as her trademark effervescent smile and charm can come through all bubbly and such, but she can then turn and hit you with dramatic chops that just make you BELIEVE her as Megan. She truly plays Megan AS a woman who is genuinely trying to FIND herself and her place in an adult life, desiring the things that come with that, but yet has this total fear of actually making it happen or HAVING it happen when it comes knocking. And hence, Grace-Moretz is equally superb in her role as Annika, effectively facing the same challenges as Megan, but on a level that she cannot quite comprehend yet and that Megan is able to expand and mentor her in, all while BOTH of them are ultimately learning the truths that will allow them to move forward from their respective ruts. And Sam Rockwell does his typical excellent job at playing a man who most certainly has a tender heart, but still has that silly, eccentric side to him that comes out and is most entertaining. Overall, it IS the combination of these three noteworthy actors that gives this film it’s heartbeat and substance. With effective supporting turns by Dever (who’s always a hoot in the characters she tends to play) and Webber round things out well. As to other content, all that was really present was language, and even that was spread out enough so as NOT to blast you out of your seat in a windstorm of expletives, which was actually a refreshing CHANGE from so many films these days. In total, the story smoothly melds into one BIG life lesson that even when we hurt, are scared, not confident in what and who we are, fool ourselves into thinking everything’s ok, and make the mistakes we do, it ALL becomes a part of the journey we take together and individually and allows us to realize what it is to DO that one thing we often DON’T want to do……grow up.
As always, this is all for YOUR consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!