In my quest to find new indie movies to love I stumbled upon Dakota Skye on instant Netflix. Dakota, a cynical, sarcastic teenager of the Juno’s Juno and TV’s Awkward Jenna’s or Freaks and Geeks Lindsey’s ilk, possess a superpower, of sorts, in that she can tell if anyone speaking to her is lying. I say “of sorts” because I think this is a lousy ability to have as I do not think anyone truly wants to know if, and how often, they are being lied to. This power of Dakota’s has always been with her, as we learn in flashbacks, some funny, and some heartbreaking.
When Dakota spots a lie it is shown to her as we would see subtitles whilst watching a foreign film, a clever cinematic trick that really works in this film.
Due at least in part to her “lie-radar“, Dakota has stopped caring about much at all in her life. She floats through school, getting by because she is an intelligent girl, but avoiding at all cost talks of the future or her friends urgings to come study for the SAT test. She spends most of her time hanging out with her boyfriend Kevin, who tells her he loves her but with her see-thru-skill really loves having sex with her. She is with him regardless because as you are quick to surmise what else is she going to do? She goes to his band’s practice, sitting with the same haze of complacency that she has for her entire life. Seeing the lies in everything certainly makes for a doldrums filled existence for Dakota.
Then Jonah arrives.
Jonah is Kevin’s best friend, a prodigal son type returning home for a visit. Jonah is a stoner, an intellect, and seemingly not a liar, at least not with Dakota. This truth unhinges her completely. She seems at times angered by this at times, but mostly she seems to be both intrigued and aroused at this new found honesty. Dakota decides to test this possibly honest boy by throwing random questions at him that most would lie about, such as questions about pornography and masturbation, but Jonah answers them all, honestly. She is blown away, and left very attracted to him.
Jonah is quite taken by Dakota, as well, and tells her as much.
They spend a stolen few days together, Jonah and Dakota, a self-defined shared dream state that they agree will not last as neither wants to intentionally hurt Kevin. In the time spent together Dakota wakes up and starts to show both interest and hope in her life again. But, all dreams end, and eventually one has to get on in the real world, which leads to a what happens now place that in my opinion is handled brilliantly.
What I loved most about this film is that all of the characters are flawed and make mistakes, and no one is a stereotype. Kevin is a nice guy, albeit not always honest and not all that intelligent. He does care about Dakota much more than I think she realizes, even if it is not “love” per se. Jonah is smart and witty, and honest, but he is sometimes pretentious and a rather crappy friend in the way he pursues Dakota so early on to meeting her and claiming to still be Kevin’s best friend. Dakota is cruel and thoughtless at times, and is somewhat unlikeable at the start. Though, I do love the decisions she makes towards the end, all of them, and applaud a film that does not continue to push the bullshit that the only choices to a girl is which boy she chooses to be with. Also, she is sarcastic, which I cannot help but love.
This is an enjoyable film with a soundtrack I enjoyed, as well, full of songs that I have unfortunately had a hard time finding. I loved the characters in this, even when I did not like them, and the unique twist on a superhero story that this film is, and as I mentioned before, I really loved the ending.