Title: I Used To Go Here
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Kris Rey
Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Hannah Marks
Runtime: 1 hr 27 mins
What It Is: 35-year old writer Kate Conklin (Gillian Jacobs) is in the middle of a tough launch for her debut novel when she receives an invitation to speak about the said novel at her alma mater from her old professor David (Jemaine Clement), a familiar face from the past. When Kate returns to her old town, the warm and (as she exclaims upon her arrival) cozy feeling reaches out and pulls her into a trip down memory lane, full of parties, oddball college students, and plenty of thrills, which may help her regain her footing and move on in life.
What We Think: This is the fourth feature film from writer/director Kris Rey, some of her previous efforts include Empire Builder and Unexpected, and this is a fine addition to her filmography. One of the best aspects of this film is the writing. It’s funny, snappy, and priceless at times, the dialogue is very natural and almost every joke feels natural. I found myself laughing out loud at the situations the characters encountered and the winsome conversations that played out between them.
Gillian Jacobs brings a very loveable and awkward performance that makes her very likable and an absolute joy to watch. Jemaine Clement is as charming as always, along with a fairly young cast consisting of young actors, notably Hannah Marks, Josh Wiggins, and Rammel Chan (who steals every scene he’s in with a very delightful and comical performance). Their comedic timing is on point, which combined with the terrific screenplay makes for a very entertaining cast of characters who feel very much alive and real.
The film looks great, the cinematography and sound mixing are well done, this film’s greatest strength is still it’s writing and performances. Every conversation is very clear and undisturbed. Curtis Heath’s score is very subtle, used very well, and probably would be best described as ambient music between the bopping pop-rock songs that play throughout the film. Sure, there are a few in terms of characters that didn’t really need to be a part of the story, or sudden changes in tone for a couple of scenes and a minuscule amount of the jokes not falling in place, but those can all be looked past fairly easily and don’t subtract all that much from the viewing experience.
Our Grade: B+, There are great performances that are delightful, lively, and comical, the script is terrific and very piquant, and the direction by Kris Rey is remarkable. A sentimental, euphoric, and at times hilarious journey through one’s past that might make you a little homesick, this film is a very clever and charming film that I definitely enjoyed.