Daydream Nation (2010)
Written and directed by Michael Goldbach
“People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world’s about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don’t need to last forever to be perfect.” ~ Caroline
A quirky town shadowed with a darkness that is reminiscent of a Stephen King novel town, or maybe a darker Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls), or a little lighter/a little less weird Twin Peaks. The town boasts a white-suited serial killer legend and an industrial fire that endlessly burns. Caroline, the sarcastic, well-read, whipsmart protagonist has just moved to this town, and informs us at the start that this is the year where everything happened.
Caroline, played brilliantly by Kat Dennings (sarcastic, well-read and whipsmart is so Kat Dennings jam) is bored, loney and more than a little lost when she decides to shake things up in her life. She instigates an affair with her young-ish, attractive-ish English teacher (why is it always the English teacher? Played by Josh Lucas), while the resident “misfit boy” (Reece Thompson) in town pines away for her, and tries clumsily to win her heart.
Though the movie may sound a bit contrived, the writing and execution is refreshingly realistic, smart and witty. The teacher/student affair, a scenario that has been done ad-nauseum, is presented from a different perspective. We are given the teacher’s side of things, what issues are going on with him that fuel an inappropriate relationship, and how both sides of the dysfunction really play out. Also, the “misfit boy”, too, is more than he seems, as is his family, especially his single-mom, who teeters on the line of a desperately lonely woman and an aggressively protective mother.
And we see why Caroline feels the way she does about herself, those around her, and both the teacher, and the “misfit boy”. I was rooting for Caroline from start to the open-ended finish.
Telethon :: Emily Haines And The Soft Skeleton
Oh, and it has one hell of a soundtrack, too.