After watching this movie, I’m convinced more than ever that society depends on being systemically risk adverse. Watching the lead in this movie survive their last days of middle school, while recalling my own youth, made me wonder how much we dampen the intellect growth of youth simply because we don’t want to be bothered. What was worse for me was that the lead - Elsie Fisher - reminded me of a close friend’s child and I was thinking, oh, shit, is this what they have to look forward too? How do we help them?
You know what? Those are the right questions to be asking because this movie is a flashing red light on what a deadly jungle it is out there. The film reminds you that from school shootings to sexual assault, suicide, and a student’s wrong move, can have the worse of consequences.
We get lost in our own orbits of jobs, housing, social circles, and it is easy to abdicate our responsibility to help the next generation navigate their way in life. We have lessons and wisdom to pass on and often they need us. But it takes time, and effort, to step into that role. Sure it is exhausting and yes, we will often fail. But we have to try even it means sacrificing things we personally care about. Those kids are more important. They just are.
If you stop and think, how many times has a relative or a stranger helped you through what seemed like an impossible situation? How many people do you know still walk this planet because someone aided them in an hour of need? It was a sacrifice on their part. And no one will ever give them an award except maybe in the afterlife because when you consider the ripple effects of those acts of kindness, few acts are as important to the greater good. That kindness changes the world. You may not be able to see it now - or ever - but a generation or two from now, that kindness still reaps benefits. That is more than you can say for your job, social status, or the retirement fund you leave in your will.
This movie, written and directed by Bo Burnham, was nominated for major awards (over 50 according to IMDB) and won several including the WGA award for best screenplay, AFI Picture Of The Year, and Director’s Guild for Best First Picture. You don’t do a whole lot better than that on the award circuit. And after watching it, I say each award was well-deserved.
The script is tight and even as I write, I’m still laughing about the banana scene. Cracked me up. I’m also still contemplating the burning of those hopes and dreams on the fire for the sake of moving on. And I got a new favorite line - thanks Bo Burnham - in “You can’t be brave without being scared”. As Joseph Campbell might say, how many people never found their bliss because they were scared?
This typically isn’t my type of movie but I am so glad I watched. Elsie Fisher is the focus of this movie and she pulls it off. The writing and directing is spot on. There are some points in the directing where I went, ‘oh, yeah… awesome choice …’ because it brought an angle to a thought you may have known to a different light. This movie is easily 5/5 on the rating scale.