Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Art of Getting By (2011)

Why do all ostensibly good-at-nothing characters turn out to be really good at something? I'm going through this phase of my own and I relish watching films about slackers and social misfits, seeking life lessons while I'm at it. But I have almost always been left disappointed. Disappointed that they somehow succeeded while I'm still clueless? Maybe. I thought Wake Up Sid was ridiculous for this very reason. 500 Days of Summer was similar with Tom's architecture thing, but, for once, I rooted for him to achieve success. happythankyoumoreplease came closest to what I had in mind- characters coming to terms with the idea that maybe they were never going to make it big, and that this was it. I'm not talking about destiny and stuff; just a realization that not everyone is a success. The movie turned out to be extremely dull in the end. Need all 'fighting against all odds' stories end with change in fortunes?

George, played by the kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, August Rush and Finding Neverland, looks like someone who grew inches over the summer. It is not often we see a lanky lead with boyish features but this never came across as a pretentious attempt to be different. A fat, four-eyed boy with curly hair would be it. Some of us like to think of ourselves as very mature and capable of solving crunch life situations better than others. George is one such person. Is it his apathy towards academics that has driven him down? If yes, then what was the reason behind the apathy? I don't recall being so shy as a kid myself, but over the years, I have slowly turned into an introvert. It is not possible to pinpoint something particular as the cause since many little things play a part. In George's case, it could be the time he spent alone with his Japanese nanny in a Tokyo hotel room, his parent's divorce, or some other incident we weren't told about. Feeling nostalgia for the past is good but what is the point when the present is slipping through.

We all have had one such girl in our life where you tell yourself she'll talk to you the next day if you finish that pending essay. No? Okay, just me then. Sally becomes George's muse. She's the only girl on earth who talks to him and she's pretty.. what can go wrong. It's when he falls for her, for reasons too obvious, things get weird. Soon it becomes a love triangle with everyone being guilty to an extent. We have an Idris Elba lookalike Principal who plays the quintessential cool teacher of high school movies. The film antagonizes the step-father as it attempts to bring George closer to his Mom and it felt very fake and unconvincing. By the end, it even incorporates an airport sequence  to the climax, which has been done to death already.

It's a beautifully shot film and there were times where I simply had to pause and take screen-shots. The interesting indie soundtrack did help. There was also something about one of the film's posters that was very Exit Through the Gift Shop-y and I was under the impression that this was a documentary till the opening scene. Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore were decent. It had its moments but it treaded known waters way too often.