The play which evolved into a movie brings all you expect from its talented cast, as they pretty much stick to the type of characters they have become adept to playing and being surrounded by.
|Screenplay By||Cory Finley|
|Genre(s)||Drama, Dark Comedy, Crime|
To be young, rich, and feel unsupported or misunderstood. Amanda just killed her horse and with a trial pending, not only does everyone in their Connecticut community know, but they got pictures as well. Making the already aloof and isolated Amanda further ostracized. Yet, an old friend from middle school, who seemingly long had abandoned her for the more mainstream and popular cliques, Lily, finds herself back in her life, originally, to make some extra cash tutoring her.
However, what the reunion ultimately produces are new chapters in Lily’s life. For the almost Stepford Wife in training is forced by Amanda, just through deadpan conversation, to be real about her thoughts and feelings. Especially in regards to Lily’s relationship with her stepfather Mark. A man who isn’t necessarily cruel or mean, but certainly doesn’t live up to her birth father’s way of treating her or positioning himself as a man willing to invest in a child who doesn’t seem to have much to give in return.
So, being that these two girls are young, rich, and Amanda is unfeeling and a bit blunt, it is proposed that perhaps they should just kill Mark. Not them specifically but they should at least plan it. Thus bringing in local failure/ drug dealer to the minors, Tim. Someone they coerce to do their bidding in hopes of getting away with the murder but, unbeknownst to one member of the three, a murder plot was already in place.
Fans of The Young Actresses and Yelchin Get What You’re Used To
If you follow Yelchin, Cooke, or Taylor-Joy’s filmographies, what you get here is pretty much what you expect. Cooke is the odd one out surrounded by people seemingly on the edge and despite being the one who stands out the most, at the same time she strangely comes off as the most normal person on screen. Taylor-Joy continues to dabble in the idea of becoming the princess of films featuring suppressed and twisted characters, sans Barry, and Yelchin is the one who sort of presents the audience’s question of why are the characters like they are and how did I get caught up in this?
All of which they play well, mind you. Cooke as Amanda pushes you to hope that perhaps one day her and Aubrey Plaza get to be in a very weird, likely indie styled, comedy with one another. For while Amanda’s deadpan nature doesn’t lead to a huge amount of comedic moments, the possibility of performing it well off a comedian seems there and could be something to help diversify Cooke’s portfolio (though the upcoming Ready Player One will surely also help).
On The Fence
In his final film before his tragic death, you almost get the vibe Yelchin’s character Tim could have done more, perhaps should have done more, but then Yelchin died and they had to rewrite. Though, the truth is, the film was done before his passing. So, it leaves you wondering if Yelchin was cast more so for additional financing and promotion than really being utilized in such a way to shine. For you can fully imagine this film without Tim and the only thing that would mean to the film is 15 – 20 minutes cut from its runtime. All things considered, in a handful of lines Mark delivers towards the end, he summarizes the point I believe Tim was trying to make about these girls. Much less the general feel of the film being how the upper middle class and wealthy are more twisted than, in some bygone era, we think they are.
As for Taylor-Joy, to be honest, Cooke steals a lot of her thunder even though the story is essentially about her character. Also, despite her being touted as feeling everything and how interesting her BUILD interview, with the director, may make the character seem, something about her performance pushes you to almost think this is a pretty high budget Lifetime movement. It has a small cast, a family dynamic which seems normal but one psychopath changes that, and poor little Lily ends up losing it amongst the chaos of an idea casually said.
To put it simply, Cooke pushed Taylor-Joy to be a reactive character and eventually just become a version of Cooke’s character.
How It Ends
You ever feel like a film has hit a point where it just decides, “You know what, we need to wrap this up” so they just write a quick ending which, makes just enough sense to not ruin the movie? Yeah, this film does that. For, with its chapter format, you can see what it is building to for Lily and Amanda and you may even find the ending to be an interesting twist. Especially considering it was premeditated for who knows how long, but something about it also feels a tad anti-climatic.
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
If this movie is close to you and you don’t have to venture far, it is worth a matinee priced ticket. It isn’t a crowning achievement in any of the actors’ filmographies, nor necessarily represents a high note for one of the final productions we may see Yelchin in. It’s an interesting indie drama but I doubt it’ll be one that becomes Taylor-Joy’s new The Witch or Cooke’s new Bates Motel, in terms of being the go-to reference for their talents as actresses.