Wednesday, May 5, 2010

West of Pluto: Movie Review


Teenagers that are independent and real.

"West of Pluto" is an independent French film made in Quebec. It gives us a look into the lives of several high school teenagers as they struggle with popularity, heartbreak and every day life. It sounds like a typical high school teen comedy or coming of age dramedy, but the difference between Hollywood and indie couldn’t be more apparent. This has the look and feel of real teenagers from a real high school in real situations. 2008

Directed by: Henry Bernadet and Myriam Verreault

Screenplay by: Henry Bernadet and Myriam Verreault

Starring: Alexis Drolet, David Bouchard and Sandra Jacques

Carefully walks the line between documentary and fiction and it’s one of those films that it doesn't even matter which side of the line it's on because it has such a real feel to it.

The title comes from one of the kid's speeches at school about Pluto. The filmmakers were making a reference between the former planet and the life of the teenager—a very fitting, intelligent, and thoughtful comparison. Like the comparison the filmmakers made, the film itself is avant-garde in its presentation of the typical teenage dilemmas, giving them depth and meaning to their thoughts and feelings.

The low budget worked well, adding to the realism of the atmosphere and characters. The actors that were cast didn’t seem like actors, but real teenagers, probably because most of them aren’t actually actors. They made you care for them – teenagers really can inspire empathy. Unfortunately, there were way too many characters. It’s impossible to remember all of them and many were extraneous.

West of Pluto is really slow-moving and a plot that seems like it’s never going to form. We just go from character to character, seeing their lives at home, their lives at school, their relationships with each other and their relationships with their parents.

However, the point of introducing us to all these characters is to take us to a party through the eyes of each of them. What the party means to them, what happens at the party, and ultimately, how it affects all of them. The party, representing the climax of the film, was handled well and really went to show that no two teenagers are alike.

It’s a fitting point that’s handled well – no two teenagers are alike. “West of Pluto” may be similar to “American Teen”, but it has its differences, and hey, it’s Canadian! It’s about the real struggles of teenagers, a little slow with too many characters, but it’s also intelligent and real and deserves to be seen. .