What starts off as the type of film you wish was a series, becomes another movie about a love affair you know can’t work out.
Review (with Spoilers)
As you could probably tell based off the films and shows I watch, I have quite a fondness for media about people on the cusp of adulthood. The issues of figuring yourself out, trying to find and understand love, all the while navigating through the ton of responsibilities expected of you. And in many ways, Molly Maxwell has all these issues and gives a slightly alternative way of going about things. For while the movie mostly takes place in a high school for the eccentrics, and has an almost TV pilot appeal, at its heart it is about a young girl trying to discover her passion and explore it with someone.
Characters & Story
Molly Maxwell (Lola Tash) is one of the many students going to Phoenix Progressive School which seemingly is an alternative school, or simply art school, which seems like the ideal place for any high school eccentric to go. There are no desk, just chairs and couches; the principal seems a bit off his rocker; classes include art therapy, in which you create something and burn it; and you can even make an independent study course. But, with all these options Molly seems a bit lost in the possibilities. That is until she fully sets her sights on English teacher Ben Carter (Charlie Carrick), someone she plans to do an independent study with/ on.
Thus beginning a movie in which Molly seems to abandon her friends for the sake of being under her teacher and discovering the mysteries of being with an older guy. One with his own place, who is creative, and seemingly doesn’t see her as a child. All the while, he tries to walk the tightrope and allow his mentee to become close, but then she finds a place to wiggle into his heart which leads to the pin being pulled on their hand grenade relationship.
At the beginning of the movie, I felt like this was some MTV, or even a lighter ABC Family, type show featuring a bunch of unknowns as they navigate through life. You have Molly who seemingly is the only one in her family who hasn’t found her niche yet; her odd friends, one being Caitlin (Brooke Palsson), who sort of reminded me of Elizabeth Gilles in Victorious; and Gala (A.K. Shand) who reminded me of Naomi in Skins, post coming out; and with them and the adult cast members you get this really appealing ensemble you can picture spending a few seasons with.
Alas, this is but a movie, but as you watch you really do come to find yourself really wanting to see the adventure continue. And while I wasn’t the most fond of the whole teen girl and teacher storyline, in the end, it didn’t make this a bad film. Though I wish an alternative story was chosen.
For, after watching Pretty Little Liars and witnessing the Aria and Fitz relationship, I am pretty much done with seeing a teen and teacher relationship. Especially because the film doesn’t add any new type of spin to the old trope, nor try to make it past it being lustful. And honestly, when the story was obviously going into that direction, it killed a lot of my enthusiasm for it took away my interest in the movie for, well basically it stunts Molly as a character. No longer is she this sort of lost girl trying to find herself amongst this sea of eccentrics. This guy introduces her to photography and in an effort to get more time with him, and keep from being kicked out of school, she gets an independent study. And to me, considering how overbearing her mom seemingly is, and how her dad is available, though often on the phone, it would have been nice if they did anything, anything, besides create an unsustainable romance. But, even with that said, it isn’t as horrible as it could have been, though I feel the ending to their relationship was a bit rushed and could have been handled better.
Overall: TV Viewing
When I first started watching this, I felt like this would be a movie to label Worth Seeing, but I must admit that teacher and student relationship really tainted the story for me. Be it because I would like to see a young adult movie in which the complications of love isn’t the focus, or just because the aspect of watching a weakly crafted romance between a child and adult just doesn’t appeal to me, I cannot say for sure. Either way, I will definitely say this movie is enjoyable, but cannot say it is worth rushing to go find. It starts off with immense potential, but the teacher-student storyline creates a story which lacks passion between the lovers, anything new to bring to the forbidden love affair stories you have surely seen before, and if it wasn’t for the writer/ director being a woman, I’d argue the story was created to be used for vicarious living. Which admittedly is odd to say since Molly and Ben don’t really do much more than make out.
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