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Here is a weirdly beguiling movie, adapted by Jesse Andrews from David Levithan’s YA novel of the same name, and directed by Michael Sucsy, who made the treacly Channing Tatum weepie The Vow. This is much better. I can only describe it as a metempsychotic teen romance, or palingenetic high-school fantasy. It doesn’t begin with any of the obvious comic or ironic palliatives to get you used to its bizarre high concept. It is offered absolutely straight, like a concerned “issue” movie about something non-supernatural. You have to just go with it, and not break the butterfly of its idea on the wheel of derision.
The star is 17-year-old Angourie Rice, looking like a teen Cybill Shepherd and maintaining an almost eerie sunlit serenity, despite everything that happens to her character. She plays a high-school student called Rhiannon, a name that seems to flummox some of her contemporaries. (Does nobody listen to Fleetwood Mac any more?) One day, the distant and self-absorbed jock guy she’s sort of dating suddenly seems like a totally different person: sensitive, caring, emotionally literate. She opens up to him as never before. But the next day he’s back to normal and can’t remember their conversation. From then on, every day, Rhiannon meets a different stranger of her own age, but either sex, who seems to “get” her in the same unnervingly perceptive, intimate way that her boyfriend fleetingly did. And when the truth dawns, the movie makes its concept strangely convincing and consistent.
It is like a contemporary version of Groundhog Day (which it slyly references) and 80s body-swap films; or Spike Jonze’s Her with a tiny hint of Jonathan Glazer’s cult drama Birth. It’s a film about identity in the age of social media, online existences and trans issues. What does it add up to? I don’t know. But there is something dreamlike in its gentleness.
Source: The Guardian
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