Written and directed by Jude Klassen, Stupid for You tells the story of Dani Destroyer (Klassen), an ex-punk rocker who hasn’t stood on stage since her band imploded years ago. Although she loves her teenage daughter, Dani struggles to maintain any relationships with men. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Dani’s daughter Kat (Mikhael Klassen-Kay) is a young musician who started a band with her best friend, Stevie (Mia Rodne) but has never played live due to their insecurities and shyness. When Kat falls in love with punk rock fan girl Eden (Caylin Turner), she becomes determined to reunite her mother’s band in an attempt to gain her affection. However, digging up the past can always bring new troubles…
While there are moments where performances can let the film down, what keeps the heartbeat of Stupid for You alive is its music. Although the film is not a musical, the soundtrack plays a central role in its storytelling. Featuring multiple tracks that feel like throwbacks to the late 80s and early 90s, Stupid tells its story best when it’s through song. This is a film which acknowledges that emotion is best expressed through the arts and helps unleash the film’s punk sensibilities.
Underneath the music though, Stupid for You is very much a coming-of-age story. This is a film which shows that, no matter how old you may be, everyone is trying to figure things out. For example, while Kat attempts to find herself in high school, so too is her mother attempting to find herself in adulthood. Moving from man-to-man, Dani is struggling to be at peace with her life. Once a (marginally) famous rock star, now Dani has lost her sense of identity. At the same time, Kat is also beginning to discovery her own sense of who she is as well. In love with the popular girl, Eden, Kat feels like she will never be cool enough to deserve getting noticed. But when Eden begins showing interest, Kat becomes concerned that their relationship may be based on Eden’s interest in her mother’s band. Although she yearns to be loved for who she is, Kat struggles to understand what that means.
In this way, Stupid speaks to the importance of coming together in the midst of trouble and the hope that is found in in loving community. Toxic relationships based on lies crumble to pieces whereas the people that truly know us are able to stand behind us in the hardest moments. With a loving heart, Stupid recognizes that it’s within these safe spaces that we can both discover who we are and be truly known.
After all, if you don’t feel comfortable to be Stupid with those people, where can you be?
Stupid for You is now playing at Inside Out ’22. For screening information, click here.