Director: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Mark Webber, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin
Written by: Andrea Seigel
Running Time: 99 mins
Release date: 7th November 2014
There are some films in this world that are a welcoming escape from the outside and Say When is exactly that. An indie comedy drama from the director of My Sister’s Sister, it is one of those films that might not explore things too deeply and yet we understand the world it is carving out; that of the fear of growing up and having responsibilities.
Megan is part of a tight-knit friendship with three females and a male, Anthony, who becomes Megan childhood sweetheart. Now at a time where marriage and babies seem to be the only way forward, slacker Megan is still lost in her life, not knowing what direction to take. When her boyfriend proposes, Megan panics and decides to escape, meeting Annika, a teenager who Megan can relate to. Megan persuades Annika to let her hide out at her house where her father, divorce lawyer, Craig, is questionable about the relationship being formed between a high school girl and a twentysomething. Of course, the relationship between the three gets turned on its head.
There’s something about this film that is somewhat beguiling. It doesn’t present anything deep and meaningful and the contents isn’t anything particularly new. Yet spending time with the characters and watching the action span out is surprisingly pleasurable. Considering this small-scale tale isn’t trying to punch above its weight by adding twists and turns or contrivances, it’s a simple, likable journey.
Director Lynn Shelton and writer Andrea Seigel have come up with some uncomplicated characters who are easy to relate to and even though the situation maybe stretching things: 20+ year-old finds solutions to her life in the home of a teenager, it works, thanks to some witty dialogue, well controlled sequences and a cast that you really wouldn’t mind spending more time with.
The renaissance of Keira Knightley continues, as she delivers another pleasing performance as Megan. With her American accent, she is this side of kooky without getting too annoying and yet there is a sparkle in her eye that makes her instantly like her. She has energy, she has a lust for life and a childish charm.
Add the mix, Chloe Grace Moretz, whose recent films haven’t really shown her talents to the full, here is back on form as Annika, a girl going through all those difficult teenage years without anyone to turn to, after her mother left, so having Megan more as an older best friend than a mother figure works in her favour. The scenes between Knightley and Moretz are very cute and you can see the chemistry immediately they meet.
Then throw in Sam Rockwell as Annika’s dad, Craig. The second he appears the film goes up a notch. He just manages to ooze coolness while at the same time never going too far as to take away the hard work that has happened before and, indeed after. He is funny, mischievous and just terrific. I said it after watching him in The Way, Way Back and I’ll say it again. When I grow up, I want to be Sam Rockwell. Put him and Keira together and you definitely get this year’s most delightful couple. It’s a joy to watch them play off each other and this is where the film really works. Three accomplished performers delivering.
Say When (or Laggies as it’s called in the US) isn’t going to stay with you long after it has finished. It isn’t going to affect your life or make you have deep, meaningful conversations once you have viewed it. It does a job: to entertain and it does it well. It doesn’t want awards, it doesn’t want to be controversial or amaze. It just wants you to have a good time in the company of some interesting characters and if that’s the case, it’s done a very good job indeed.