Title: How to Talk to Girls at Parties
MPAA Rating: R
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Starring: Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman
Running Time: 1hr 42min
What It Is: A curious alien named Zan (Elle Fanning) who is temporarily staying on Earth with her species breaks away from her colonies to learn about what life is—in the middle of the 1970’s punk rock era in London. She meets a punk teenager, Henry (Alex Sharp), who inspires her to become more than just a cycle in her species. Once they both figure out the dark secret Zan’s colonies have been hiding from her, it becomes a battle between Punks and Aliens in order to save Zan’s life.
What We Think: Wow. This movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short story was unmistakably, an accurate translation from text to screen. While modern movie adaptations of novels tend to flop or forget details that hard-core fans would notice (Twilight, Percy Jackson, and the Lightning Thief, etc..), Mitchell does an impressive job staying true to the short vision written by Gaiman, and more. The extension of the plot is smooth and feels completely natural. A unique vehicle this film contains to drive its theme of individuality is the usage of Punk era and attitude. The whole point of Punk rock and why it became so popular was to go against conformity and be your own person! This is exactly the kind of conflict that Zan goes through, and it creates a sense of inner turmoil that all humans face at some point in their lives: to conform or not conform? Freedom, passion, and love are also large themes within the film, mostly between Zan and her love interest, Henry. Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp are almost too perfect for their roles as Zan and Henry. On their own, Fanning can always pull off the eccentric chick, and Sharp made his big debut with his lovable, awkward character that is Henry. But together, their chemistry is endearing. Their interactions were like puzzle pieces falling into place! The side characters also retained a lot of their own quirks, which made them lovable in their own ways. This film pulled off an impactful storyline that was hilarious throughout but left me with bittersweet sentiment at the end. The only critique I have for this film is certain effects; there were some scenes that made me question the editing choices.
Our grade: B+, Although this movie is entertaining and meaningful, there are a few concepts that should have been expanded upon. I still have a few questions about the story that I probably won’t be able to fully understand, but then again, the slight fairy-tale mystery is most likely what Gaiman would have wanted.