Seen This Week: Struck By Lightning (2012), Ruby Sparks (2012), Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012), Warrior (2011), Flight (2012), Dredd (2012).
Can you tell it’s nearing the end of the year, and I’m trying as best as I can to cram in as many films from the past year as possible? There were some indies, a return to an old favorite, one of the sweetest documentaries I’ve seen since Bill Cunningham New York, Denzel Washington at the top of his game, and some well-placed gore.
Movie Pick of The Week: Struck by Lightning (2012)
Well what’s it about?
High school senior Carson (Chris Colfer) is sick and tired of being under appreciated by his parents and his peers. In an effort to better his chances at getting into the school of his dreams and to validate his status at the school, he blackmails his fellow students to write for his literary magazine.
Oh, and he dies about thirty seconds into the film and tells all of this in flashback. This isn’t a spoiler, but a key point in the film’s synopsis.
As the movie progresses, we meet the family that molded him into the hard-edged and abrasive young man that he is, all the while watching as he fights for his ambitions and for the dream that will hopefully carry him away from his small town.
Okay, but why should I watch it?
First off, it’s a dark comedy which is always welcome in film. Second, Glee’s Chris Colfer not only stars in this film but also wrote it, making the rest of us twenty-something’s feel horrendously lazy and unaccomplished. The script is tightly plotted with smart dialogue and fantastic characterization especially with Allison Janney’s Sheryl Phillips and Christina Hendricks’ April. Both women are fully-realized characters with great nuance and are beautifully acted by both Janney and Hendricks. Janney, in particular, plays a woman who should be completely detestable. Yet, with a level of desperation and sympathy, she creates a mother who not only disregards her son but is also quietly clinging on to him with a determination to not be deserted once again.
Colfer has written a movie, while not without its flaws, that makes sure to shine a light on the teens in high school that don’t get the recognition they so often deserve.
Who should watch it?
To all of the Rebel Wilson fans who have seen her in films such as Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, she is just as full of charisma and comedic timing in this film as well but this time, rather than half of her characterization being defined by her weight; she’s instead described by her oddities and dedication to Carson. The film is for fans of Chris Colfer who have missed seeing him perform after the collective jumping ship from Glee, because not only is he a worthwhile leading man, but his performance and writing promise an inspiring future voice amongst pop culture. The film isn’t predictable; it shows an emotional complexity with the adult characters mnay years older than the writer, and as mentioned above, it’s some of Allison Janney’s best work to date.
It isn’t the best movie you’ll see this year, but it’s full to the brim with emotional resonance and promises an interesting career for Colfer once released from the Glee burden.
You can catch it now On Demand, iTunes and Amazon, or you can wait until January 11th when it gets it limited theatrical release. Support the indies!