Thursday, May 22, 2014

Molly Maxwell: Movie Review

Takes an inappropriate relationship and turns it into a naturally honest and realistic portrayal of two well-developed characters.

Molly Maxwell is a 16-year-old student at a private school. The simplistic view is that she’s one of those smarter-than-thou, wise-beyond-her-years teenagers who gets herself into an improper relationship with her teacher through maturity and manipulation. "Lolita" movies are rarely good, but “Molly Maxwell” is able to overcome all the negative expectancies because Molly is way more realistic and normal than the type of character she would normally be. Sympathy for Molly and Ben arise out of a natural honesty, and then the film starts toying with our sympathies.   2013

Directed by: Sara St. Onge

Screenplay by: Sara St. Onge

Starring: Lola Tash, Charlie Carrick

Neither Molly (Lola Tash) nor teacher Ben (Charlie Carrick) can be painted with simplistic brushes. Molly is like a typical teenager, but in a refreshingly realistic way. She’s snarky with her parents, because you know, she’s a 16-year-old teenager. But deep down, she does model her life after them, just don’t let them know that. She’s not doing very well in school, but that’s not because she’s too cool for school, but more because the school hasn’t found a way to actually include her. And this is one of those progressive schools where students have almost complete control of their education. Molly just doesn’t know herself yet. Ben is a wannabe rock and roll star who gets himself a typical job but thinks the unorthodox nature of the school suits his unorthodox nature. Unbeknownst to Ben, or at least unbeknownst to us, a more traditional school would suit him better.

At first I was hoping against hope that this wasn’t going to be an inappropriate relationship between teenage girl and authority figure movie, but the natural honesty with which the relationship developed means that I was hoping against it for no reason. The movie isn’t just about the relationship but about the two people who find themselves in a relationship. It’s about what they think they want versus what they get, it’s about molding yourself into the version of a person you think you should be, and the more interesting parts as we reached the ending is how duped were we, who are Molly and Ben after all? I’ll give you a hint, one character is exactly as they seemed even though you wouldn’t expect that, the other character was not what they seemed.

“Molly Maxwell” has just such a natural honesty and realism to it that the characters just shine with authenticity. They pull you into a world which is not as far-fetched as you might hope or expect. And the film takes an uncomfortable subject matter and turns into a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Almost entirely due to the excellent writing of the characters and partly due to the indie soundtrack that suits these characters and their explosive tendencies.

Similar Titles:

Daydream Nation (2010) - An edge-of-your-seat coming-of-age drama.

The Lifeguard (2013) - Quarter-life crisis character study with dramatic depression and comedic maturation.

Tanner Hall (2009) - The misadventures of four forgettable and unrelatable teenage girls.

Picture Day (2012) - Stuck between adolescence, adolescence and stereotypical immaturity.