Sundance 2014: “Laggies” – Review by MovieManMenzel

A coming age film for those coming of age in their mid-twenties.

Lynn Shelton is a Sundance regular. Shelton has had a new film to premiere at Sundance every other year ever since her first film, Hump Day back in 2009.  This year at the festival, Lynn Shelton returns with her latest film Laggies, which is the first film that she has directed but hasn’t written. Lynn mentioned that she usually makes movies with her friends and this go around she made a film with some actors who she can now call her friends.

Laggies follows a woman named Megan () who is stuck in a rut and uncertain of what she should be doing with her life. Her friends seem to annoy her and her eccentric boyfriend () seems so engrained in his own world that he doesn’t quite seem to get that Megan isn’t exactly happy. At her friend Alison’s () wedding, Megan sees her father (Jeff Garlin) cheat on her mom, which throws her in a loop. She quickly makes up an excuse to leave the wedding and heads to a local supermarket. It is here where Megan runs into a teenager named Annika () who she immediately connects with. It isn’t long before Annika and Megan become close and begin to help one another deal with all that life throws their way.

First and foremost,  I have to say that Laggies is a really interesting film because its like a coming of age film for those who are lost in life after they graduate college. In the past, there weren’t too many films that address this type of storyline, but over the past 2 years or so many indie filmmakers have begun to tackle this phrase in life. Laggies is unique because while it is an independent project; it is also a film that I think will have a huge mainstream appeal. The movie kind of reminds me a bit of Frances Ha, although this film isn’t nearly as artsy, which I think is a good thing.

Also, unlike Frances Ha, Keira Knightley as the lead is really likable and not just someone that the creative types can relate to. As Megan, Knightley is likable, believable, and lost in this world. She lies to everyone and is really just uncertain of what she wants to do in her life. Knightley plays this character with such charm because no matter how shitty her actions are; you can’t help but like her. Its something about the way that she carries the role, which makes it feel like you are watching that friend you had in college, who hasn’t quite found his or her purpose in life. In other words, Megan is just floating through life with no real direction and it is definitely something that I think a lot of people in their mid-t0-late 20s face.

Chloe Grace Moretz really showcases how much she has grown as an actress in Laggies. On the surface, Annika is your typical teenager in high school dealing with all the normal high school drama, however, Moretz brings so much more depth to the character than what we normally see in teenagers in most films. Annika is a teenager that a lot of people can relate to simply because instead of being portrayed as stupid and reckless, she is mature for her age. It is always nice to see a film where they allow teenagers to be cool, while not making them into complete and utter idiots. I also felt that the character was dealing with some realistic issues which also helped shape this character and make it standout.

The rest of the supporting cast including  and  are all solid. I think Rockwell is really great as Annika’s father Craig. What I liked most about Rockwell’s character is that he was one of those characters who on the surface seemed to be a goofball but instead had more going on than what was shown initially. Kaitlyn Dever’s character Misty is often hilarious as Annika’s best friend, who has all the self confidence that everyone in high school wishes they had. She is a great in the role and its nice to see her play something a little more lighthearted since her last performance was as a troubled teen in the amazing Short Term 12 from last year.

All in All, I do have to say that I feel that Laggies is Lynn Shelton’s masterpiece based on seeing all her previous films. The reason why I can label this film as her masterpiece is because I think its the first film that can appeal to both a mainstream crowd and an independent crowd at the same time. It mixes the normal mumble core characters that we see in most of Shelton’s films with characters that we would see in a mainstream film. The result is something that is ultimately smart, funny, and honest. It might not be a film that will be considered groundbreaking but in terms of being highly entertaining while telling a solid story with great performances all around, I can say Laggies is definitely one of my favorites from the festival thus far.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Laggies is a 8 out of 10.

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