You could say that it all started with “Juno”. In 2007 Jason Reitman directed an off beat coming of age tale in which a dry witted, music loving teenager falls pregnant with her adorable but slightly hopeless boyfriend’s baby. Enter the need in our lives for quirky comedies about loveable characters that are usually younger than the audience, yet still entirely relatable. This genre features no dolled up Hollywood stars, instead focussing on far more interesting individuals with their own quirks, unusual dress sense and awkward yet appealing personality aplenty. Look out for a mass of flannel plaid shirts and colourful vintage hoodies as Ellen Page and Michael Cera form a believable twosome with their loves for burger phones and retro running shorts. Audiences were hooked from the start and the film paved the way for other similar films to become firm favourites of cinema viewers worldwide.
Michael Cera returned a year later for “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” starring opposite Kat Denning as a pair who follow a mysterious band as they play secret pop up shows across the city. Peter Sollett capably directed a compelling and twisting plot as the two chase their favourite group, whilst falling for one another along the way. The story is another charming escape from reality which can be watched over and over, shared with friends and put next to “Juno” on the shelf for movies that cannot fail to cheer you up.
2010’s shining star of this genre was “It’s a Kind of Funny Story,” which, in my opinion, did not receive the amount of recognition it truly deserved. Set in a psychiatric ward, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck portrayed a troubled teenagers trials and tribulations as he struggles to cope with what is going on around him. Along his journey, Craig, played by Keir Gilchrist, meets fellow ward resident Noelle and the two help each other mend through a series of heart warming, entertaining events. Emma Roberts is riveting as the beautiful but damaged love interest, which allows her natural charm and kookiness to shine through. Style wise, lots of layering, chunky knitwear and the odd witty slogan tee all nod to the Nineties, as typical of these films. Again, this is one to buy on DVD because it deserves a considerable amount of viewings.
Released late last year, and recently available to own or rent, is the film that I wrote this post with intentions of sharing with you. Just in case you missed it, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” needs to be added to your must watch list. The novel too, demands a place on your bookshelf and please, whatever you do, don’t just leave it sitting there. Expect plenty of Nineties fashion, perfect for this season’s grunge revival – clear bra straps are a painful reminder of rubbed shoulders, whilst classic American letterman jackets will have you wishing you’d gone to high school. Author and director Stephen Chbosky has an uncanny way of absorbing and enthralling an audience, via the written word or film adaption equally. Similar to others previously mentioned, this is a story revolving around the instability of a young outcast. Logan Lerman is fantastic as a budding writer who is finally accepted within a group of friends. Try to ignore the fact that Emma Watson is hard to imagine as any character other than Hermione and focus on the charismatic tale in front of you, which would not be complete without Ezra Miller’s hilarious role as the love interests flamboyant, comedic brother. With motion pictures, as enjoyable and unconventional as these, who needs more star studded blockbusters?
By Sophie Seymour