HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES [2017]

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An interesting experience, this film successfully depicts the intentional rebellious nature of Punk Rock while blending it within a fantasy film and a love story. Perhaps the only drawback is the lack of punk action; it starts off prevalent but dies down as a more romantic element takes over the film, but even this is far from conventional.

After seeing a local show, Enn (Alex Sharp) and his friends head to what they think is an after-party, but instead are greeted by a strange gaggle of people whose fashion sense is even stranger than the punks, not to mention they seem like a cult. Bizarre still is the sense of humour, it is very British, very dry and very dark on the odd occasion. This creative mixture is a potent combination, and the love story also fits with the punk-theme, as Zan (Elle Fanning) wants to leave the group and Enn wants to help, as punk seems to make her happy.

This bizarre cult unfortunately is not explored as deeply as it could have been, but never the less it serves as a metaphor for those not only isolated from the outside world, but also intentional difference and the shunning of the rest of the world, not unlike many punks. Zan almost sounds alien when she convincingly utters phrases such as ‘do more punk to me’ after she slashes her nice dress with a of pair of scissors, prompting a remark from Enn that ‘now that is punk!

While there are perhaps too many elements crammed into a relatively short time-span – just over 90 minutes – this lends an element of chaos that is welcome and again fits with the punk ethos. Some more detail into the cult that Elle is trying to escape may have added some cohesion, but again this slight withholding of information while simultaneously hinting at its bizarre nature works, as we are never entirely sure of what Zan is running away from. Not to mention cults are secretive by nature.

Ultimately though, despite being dressed up in a punk suit and oddly designed, matching clothes to designate ones’ rank within a cult, at its core is a love story that transcends all sorts of boundaries. . I can be genuinely moving as a music lover when Enn plays punk rock to Zan and sees the genuine smile light up her face as she reacts to the raw sounds, the first time she has heard music. An entirely new world to her, everything she hears is a new experience. Musically there are a plethora of themes to explore, such as its true meaning and whether group attitudes like punk disregard the notion that we are all individual. Can music bring two together as strongly as it Does?

Nicole Kidman must be mentioned in a near unrecognisable role as as organiser of sorts for punk shows. She unfortunately doesn’t feature prominently enough, particularly in the second act, but the scenes she is in are certainty memorable, uttering plenty of obscenities in a near perfect British accent, while dressed in a style that perhaps defines punk more than any other character as she truly does give two shits what others think of her. An admirable quality, not just in the punk scene, but within humanity in general. Its a pity the movement turned into a fad, another issue unaddressed within the 100-odd minutes. Elle Fanning should also be noted for her convincing portrayal of a cult member unfamiliar and being initiated to the outside world.

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This all culminates in a very funny flick while also making several accurate observations of the punk scene in the 1980s, juxtaposed excellently by the almost alien like immaturity that Zan initially displays as she gradually warms to the scene and despite her fear of not returning to what she truly believes is home, the punk scene and the love shared between her and Enn threaten this notion, making for an unpredictable ending to a unqiue and unpredictable film. Truly one of a kind, and one to watch a minimum of two times, preferably more.

One short of a sixer. Another fascinating concept with too many ideas crammed in. It subsequently misses many of the attitudes behind the original punk movement, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome as in fun in,many ways.

5/6

 

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