Thursday, 10 January 2013

Restless

Last night I watched Restless, picking it on impulse from Netflix. I tend to despise romantic films unless they have some unique hook, and this movie has one hell of a hook.

On paper it seems like a cliched, sentimental mess: two teenagers in love, one of them still grieving the death of his parents, the other dying of cancer. However, the story is told with such care and tenderness, and the the characters of Enoch and Annabel are in equal measures bizarre and honest that the plot just works.
 If you Google it, you'll find the film received mixed reviews, with the majority of the negative reviews agreeing it was "twee" and such.  Personally, I think you have to let yourself be taken in by the film, and realise that ultimately it is a film about teenagers. Teenagers who find themselves in love tend to fashion a whole world for themselves, and this pair have more reason to than most.

 The cinematography of Restless is truly superb, and I was screengrabbing nearly the entire film. As a film student, the mise en scene made me very happy.
 The film shows countless moments that could be considered cliche: kissing in the rain; playing tennis; bicycle rides. I think this is where it encounters harsh reviews, but I think to criticise it for this means you have missed the point entirely. Annabel and Enoch only have three months together, and they choose to make every moment count.
 There are moments of anger on Enoch's part, which is what saves it from being a trite in my opinion. The characters almost idealise themselves, and it is impossible to fault Annabel as she can only be admired for being so accepting of her illness and choosing to spend her time being happy. The film needs Enoch and his faults, as otherwise his dandy clothing and bad luck would be unbearable.
 All in all, I found it a genuinely touching film. I would highly recommend it, not just because of the carefully told story, but also because it is truly beautiful to watch.

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