Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Picture Day: Movie Review

Stuck between adolescence, adolescence and stereotypical immaturity.

“Picture Day” stars Tatiana Maslany as Claire, a girl who's described as being caught in between adolescence and adulthood. But that's only accurate if adulthood is actually an immature state of being where teenagers are snarky and rude because they think they're cool and smarter than everybody else. She's smack dab in the middle of adolescence no matter how mature she might think she is. 2012

Directed by: Kate Miles Melville

Screenplay by: Kate Miles Melville

Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck and Steven McCarthy

Claire (Tatiana Maslany). Photo by Johnny Vong.
During Claire’s last year of high school again, she meets two guys. The first guy, Jim (Steven McCarthy), is legally an adult according to his age, thereby making him older and wiser. He also represents the sex, drugs and rock & roll stage of “adulthood”. The second guy, Henry (Spencer Van Wyck), is in high school and is younger than Claire, but is also mature, studious and observant. He’s more sheltered and hasn't yet been shown the harsh realities of coming of age.

The coming of age parallels within in this film are apparent and abundant. Claire’s stuck between adolescence and adulthood and is repeating her last year of high school – as if she’s unable to know when she needs to grow up. She’s also torn between two guys, representing the high school and adult worlds she’s torn between. And then within the guys themselves, the older one is more immature and less adapted to the adult-world and has no need for Claire himself. While the younger one can provide Claire with the stability she needs and has the maturity to approach adolescence like an adult.

The problem is all those parallels are represented within the premise, once you actually start watching the movie, there’s nothing left to discover. Think these ideas are smart? Just try to hang onto that feeling because that's all they've got.

Is Claire going to pick adulthood or is she going to remain an adolescent? Well, she is an adolescent, is acting like an adolescent and is incapable of true self-awareness or even recognizing real maturity. While there is room for growth, Claire is incapable of it, so there isn't really a question of adolescence versus adulthood. She is adolescent and will remain one.

Worse is that the other characters don’t provide any reasons to keep watching. Jim is a walking, talking stereotype that is even more annoying than that sounds. Henry is actually a very decent character, and apparently his worst trait is that he's a year younger than Claire. Oh, the horror! To most eyes, the boy-related dilemma was solved the second the characters were introduced, the only dilemma that’s left is why we’re still watching.

Claire is rude, insolent and immature, and doesn’t deserve our sympathy or even our attention. And there is no story apart from is she an adult or an adolescent, and which boy should she be with. Both were answered in the opening minutes and there is nothing more to “Picture Day”.