“About Alex” Review by Ashley Menzel

About Alex

“About Alex” by Jesse Zwick starring Max Greenfield, Jason Ritter, Maggie Grace, Aubrey Plaza, Jane Levy, Max Minghella, and Nate Parker is an intelligent and poignant snapshot of the issues and identity crisis the generation of twenty something’s are facing today. The movie tells the story of Alex (Ritter), a depressed and alienated young man who attempts suicide. This traumatic event brings together all his college friends who are there to help Alex and spend the weekend taking care of him. Each character in this movie has troubles of their own that come to light on this weekend of healing and retrospect. Alex is a tragic character who is vulnerable and lost but comes alive in the presence of his friends. In a way, this character represents another portion of our generation who never truly can be happy unless given validation through others.

Ben (Parker) who is married to Siri (Grace), at the beginning of the film is screening his calls from Alex and not answering him. He is struggling with writing his book and doesn’t want to talk to anyone about it. Ben serves as the leader of the group in a lot of ways. Many of the other characters look to him for guidance or a plan. Siri is more of a loving mother character who seems to be too accepting of things around her and unfortunately, doesn’t really portray the character she is meant to portray. Her character is supposed to be an independently inclined woman, discussing her idea to move to California for an employment opportunity. She just comes off as too weak to really give that character life.

Sarah (Plaza) plays the typical lost girl who doesn’t know what meaning her life has and is therefore defined by her past with Josh (Greenfield) and her therapy sessions and dependence on medication. She secretly loves and wishes she could have a relationship with Isaac (Minghella) because he is everything she tells herself that she can’t have or doesn’t deserve, a nice successful and caring period.

For me, Isaac was the weakest character, only shown as a reflection of the relationship that he was in with Kate (Levy), a much younger and seemingly simplistic girl who doesn’t quite relate to their age group.

Josh perhaps my favorite character in this movie because he is so representative of a typical academically inclined person who reject the socially accepted hypocrisy of our generation; our constant need for connection without every really connecting. His character so perfectly portrays a disdain for the true problem facing the generation: a dependence on the fallacy of the “social media self” and our generation’s inability to create a meaningful life and/or purpose.

While I would love to give a detailed plot description of the film, I would rather just recommend that you see this film when you can. It really does an interesting and unique job of giving life and humor to the problems that our 20 something generation is facing. It takes an event aimed at sadness and death and transforms it into a humorous and intelligent journey of self discovery.

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