A Review of Say Anything

Well, after  my endorsement of what some would call a low form of pornography, it was time to examine something more lighthearted.  Well, here is Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything. Light enough for you?

Well, it was certainly light enough for me.  But frankly, it was a run of the mill film about a poor little rich girl who had missed out on her life to fulfill her dreams. Yes, John Cusack is in the film but the main focus is Diane Court.  And I do not understand the character at all.  She seems to think that she has been cursed with a burden rather than blessed; a sort of high school Richard Corey really. Lloyd Dobler may be the only one who can see her for what she is.  But what exactly is there?

The film is ultimately about Lloyd Dobler (Cusack) trying to woo Diane Court (Ione Skye), the perfect student and apparently Cusack’s dream girl.  She finds she is going to England on a scholarship for college.  Dobler decides that he can use that to win her affections.  He is a man with no ambitions, no prospects, who decides that his future is already set out for him.  He does not have any ambitions except to date Diane.  Of course, Dobler becomes involved at a time in which a group of creatures who had their souls removed via their rectums long ago invade the family dynamic.  In simpler terms, I.R.S. agents investigate Diane’s father. Dobler continues to see Court, and they find that maybe they really do love each other despite their enormous differences. She tries to break up with him, finds out the source of her father’s income, and tries to reconcile with what she really wants.

I do admire the film’s ambition.  I can even see the intelligence there.  These high school kids are not vapid bags of hormones but rather intelligent beings who actually think about their choices.  One character even scoffs another when it appears he just wants sex.  They admire each others personalities.
Such an item is actually quite surprising.  I have seen very few films where teenagers treat each other like they actually do.  “Some of us have been living in the real world for  a while” Diane states in her valedictorian speech.  And kids actually treat each other in that way.  Their concerns are, to them, the biggest concerns anyone can have.  They inhabit a world where “16 weeks is a long time.”  They care on what the parents think about them.  Some of them even think such meetings are a kiss of death.  How very, very true. Surely you remember those times.  But most filmmakers never address them. The film is also subdued when it needs to be – the first kiss is a memorable that does not rely on melodrama.  This is actually a very good examination of romance.

But the lynch pin that fails is Diane Court.  The character is played as a stoic one who cannot muster any confidence when what is required is something far more dramatic.  Why on earth is Court so afraid of her own life.  It seems like she has a very good one in store.  I understand why she is nervous.  Many would have that reaction.  But the film simply does not know how to treat her character.  Her speeches and explanations are not satisfactory.  I have known people in her position. They do not act like Diane. I can sort of see why she makes the choices she makes, but every time she tries to explain it, I do not buy it.

It is my job to point out the flaws.  Say Anyhing does not have many.  It is actually a fairly convincing portrait of teenage romance.  Yet just when I felt myself being immersed into this wonderful examination of choices, of love, and transitions, one major flaw came into focus.  These characters can say anything they want to each other.  Yet one character does not know what to say to us beyond the screen.

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