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.


7 thoughts on “Daydream Nation (2010)

  1. You’ve raved about Daydream Nation before and I can’t recall why I didn’t end up seeing it. It’s on my Netflix (I’m doing a month of the mail-in service) so I’ll ensure I get it. I can’t find it streaming=( I would totally watch it now while I eat and bum around for the rest of the night.

    1. It looks like it’s on YouTube – I saw it when I was looking for the trailer. Yeah, I have raved before and I do love it. I hope you get a chance to watch it!

      1. Yay!!! I’m going to watch the video you clued me into too – once the dinner I’m cooking is done – and we can compare notes later!

  2. I liked it! You described it well without giving too much away. I liked the tone, pacing and direction quite a bit. I noticed that the teenagers really looked like teenagers too especially in how they weren’t too slick or stylish with their clothing (Y’know how on those television shows all the kids are wearing designer clothes…). The soundtrack was a highlight and as you pointed out though the student-falls-for-teacher scenario has been done this is a refreshing twist with new perspectives and depth. Good recommendation!!
    I will definitely watch again sometime too. It was very satisfying.

    I meant to tell you that sometime in November, I think that’s when, I watched Dream for an Insomniac and enjoyed it. It had interesting, fun dialogue and I loved the fashion and casting. I should’ve mentioned it at that time so my comments would be more specific but I liked it…I can’t put my finger on what it was that was different about it but it had this 90s jenesaisquoi that’s contemplative and young.

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