What moments shape you?
In this coming of age tale, we see a snippet of the daily struggles of Howie (Brendan Meyer). Howie is simultaneously navigating his parent’s rocky relationship, infatuation with an unknown girl he sees on the bus, and another girl who is infatuated with him.
We get a good indication of Howie’s family dynamic early on in this film when he comes to the breakfast table dressed in a freshly dry-cleaned shirt. Howie has a cursing outburst and instead of reprimanding him, his mother, Carla (Molly Ringwald) only harps on the fact that he got his shirt dry-cleaned while trying not to laugh at him.
In my opinion the stand-outs in this film were the two female supporting actors, Jemima Kirke and Harley Quinn Smith. Not only did I feel that their characters were the most intriguing of the cast, but their executions were impressive. The important stories to be told in this film were theirs. In fact, the stories behind all of the different women in this film are quite interesting.
Odessa (Jemima Kirke) is a beautiful young woman who gives off an intriguing and mysterious air, drawing Howie in. He instantly wants to be part of whatever it is that Odessa is part of. But behind closed doors, Odessa is trying to cope with the end of a relationship. Perhaps Odessa begins hanging around with Howie because she appreciates the positive attention he gives her and that she may be missing from her past relationship.
Lindsay (Harley Quinn Smith) is an awkward teen struggling to bounce back from a spiraling rumor and the effects of a scarring situation. She desperately tries to get Howie’s attention while he is completely distracted by thoughts of Odessa.
Howie’s mother, Carla, is very distracted in her daily life and seems partially removed from her children as she struggles with her marriage falling apart. She is trying to find herself again as an individual. It’s sad to see her struggle during this difficult time, yet more sad to see her sons get so little from her. And so little from their father for that matter.
This film took an awkward turn for me during a scene when Howie and his friends were sitting around watching females exercise on television. The camera hops from boy to boy as they not-so-discreetly touch themselves while watching. I’m not positive why this was necessary, but I wonder if perhaps it speaks to the different types of relationships that some young men have with different women in their lives. Objectification of women seems to often be a fairly common milestone in the male evolution.
The main women in Howie’s life, Lindsay, Odessa, and Carla, are all in very different stages of their lives but all have broken hearts for different reasons. It’s intriguing to see them navigate these hurdles, but even more fascinating to see the effect that these three women have on Howie. How are these influences going to shape Howie as he continues to grow into a man?