Written and directed by Kris Rey, I Used to Go Here tells the story of Kate Conklin (Jacobs), a young author about to release her debut novel. When her book receives less-than-stellar reviews, Kate is hurt and frustrated by the response. After she receives an invitation from her former professor and old crush, David (Clement), to speak at her alma mater, Kate jumps at the chance return to her old college as a published author. However, as she revisits her past haunts and relationships, she soon begins to slide back into her old life as a student with all its misadventures and misplaced feelings for her former professor.
Entertaining and earnest, Go Here is a fun coming-of-[middle] age comedy that looks at what happens when the dreams of our youth never truly meet reality. The latest film produced by Lonely Island, Go Here continues to develop their brand as having an eye for comedy that never loses the honesty and soul underneath. While the film features an enjoyable cast of newcomers (Long live Tall Brandon!), it’s veterans Gillian Jacobs and Jermaine Clement that truly anchor the piece. A veteran of notable comedies like Community and Netflix’s Love, Jacobs continues to bring an affability to her characters that also shows inner courage and strength. In Go Here, her talents are offset beautifully by Clement’s David, a professor who is struggling with his own sense of self-worth and stability as well.
Held up as both mirror images and polar opposites of one another, David and Kate are both weighed down by the decisions they’ve made in their lives and the regrets they carry. While David fades away in a fractured marriage, Kate struggles with the compromises that she has made within her writing in order to get published. However, whereas David seems trapped within the outcomes of his life choices, Kate’s heart years to rediscover the youthful passion for life that she once held before the ‘reality’ of adulthood set in. (“Life is not like school. It’s not a safe place to try things out,” she exclaims, frustrated.) Though far from immature herself, Kate’s return home stirs an attraction to the innocence that she felt as a college student.
Yet, in this film, nostalgia can only take you so far.
Though visiting the past can be life-giving, Go Here also recognizes that remaining there can be toxic as well. Having moved on with her life, Kate’s return home may offer some sense of renewal and refreshing but she herself doesn’t quite fit in anymore. The draw to step into her old life seems appealing on the surface but she remains hesitant. (In fact, even the title of the film itself suggests the value of being one who has moved on.) To Kate, old friends and sites are welcoming as she looks towards the next chapter of her life, yet she still struggles to find a future there.
After all, she has changed, even if her hometown has not.
As such, at its core, I Used to Go Here points to the idea that hope may lie in the future, even if some form of refreshment lies within the past. Filled with heart and humour, there’s an indelible charm within the Rey’s script that keeps the film engaging throughout. Embedded with a mature youthfulness, Go Here speaks to what it means to rediscover what we have by taking a look at what we had.
Even if we can’t really go home again.
To hear our interview with star Jemaine Clement, click here.
I Used to Go Here premieres on VOD on August 7th, 2020.