Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Jack and Diane

Teenage lesbians suffer through a doomed, allegory-laden romance in this horror-tinged love story.

Nov 1, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1366858-Jack_Diane_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Imagine a teenage lesbian love story directed by David Cronenberg and you’ll have some sense of the weirdness of Jack and Diane. Bradley Rust Gray’s attempt to weave horror elements into a fairly conventional narrative yields diminishing returns in this overly stylized effort.

The title characters—not to be confused with the subjects of John Mellencamp’s hit tune—are Diane (Juno Temple), a waif-like British teen spending the summer in New York City with her no-nonsense aunt (Cara Seymour), and Jack (Riley Keough), a tomboyish local with whom she forms an instant attraction.

The romance encounters various roadblocks, although their respective inarticulateness is less a problem for them than for bored viewers. Rather, it’s that both seem to be emotionally damaged, which results in bizarre physical manifestations. Diane suffers from a series of torrential nosebleeds and has a habit of turning into a fearsome, werewolf-like monster. Both traits eventually transmute to Jack, who also suffers severe cuts to her face when she’s hit by a cab while bicycle-riding.

Gray throws some halfhearted comic relief into the mix, such as Diane’s gagging when fed Jack’s favorite snack of sushi with ketchup, and her disastrous attempt to shave her pubic area which, judging by the amount of shaving cream she uses, apparently forms most of her body.

But the animated opening credits and intertitles and bizarre creature manifestations signal that the filmmaker is going for something deeper and more phantasmagorical. While these sequences, superbly created by the Quay Brothers, are certainly visually arresting, they’re neither scary enough to interest horror fans nor sufficiently symbolically resonant to give the film the depth to which it obviously aspires.

The young leads fulfill their roles perfectly, with Temple effortlessly projecting adolescent anxiety and Keough displaying real charisma as her tough-talking, butch lover. But their striking efforts are not enough to lift this languidly paced, pretentious effort above the level of bizarre curiosity.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Jack and Diane

Teenage lesbians suffer through a doomed, allegory-laden romance in this horror-tinged love story.

Nov 1, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1366858-Jack_Diane_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Imagine a teenage lesbian love story directed by David Cronenberg and you’ll have some sense of the weirdness of Jack and Diane. Bradley Rust Gray’s attempt to weave horror elements into a fairly conventional narrative yields diminishing returns in this overly stylized effort.

The title characters—not to be confused with the subjects of John Mellencamp’s hit tune—are Diane (Juno Temple), a waif-like British teen spending the summer in New York City with her no-nonsense aunt (Cara Seymour), and Jack (Riley Keough), a tomboyish local with whom she forms an instant attraction.

The romance encounters various roadblocks, although their respective inarticulateness is less a problem for them than for bored viewers. Rather, it’s that both seem to be emotionally damaged, which results in bizarre physical manifestations. Diane suffers from a series of torrential nosebleeds and has a habit of turning into a fearsome, werewolf-like monster. Both traits eventually transmute to Jack, who also suffers severe cuts to her face when she’s hit by a cab while bicycle-riding.

Gray throws some halfhearted comic relief into the mix, such as Diane’s gagging when fed Jack’s favorite snack of sushi with ketchup, and her disastrous attempt to shave her pubic area which, judging by the amount of shaving cream she uses, apparently forms most of her body.

But the animated opening credits and intertitles and bizarre creature manifestations signal that the filmmaker is going for something deeper and more phantasmagorical. While these sequences, superbly created by the Quay Brothers, are certainly visually arresting, they’re neither scary enough to interest horror fans nor sufficiently symbolically resonant to give the film the depth to which it obviously aspires.

The young leads fulfill their roles perfectly, with Temple effortlessly projecting adolescent anxiety and Keough displaying real charisma as her tough-talking, butch lover. But their striking efforts are not enough to lift this languidly paced, pretentious effort above the level of bizarre curiosity.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Drive Hard
Film Review: Drive Hard

A car-chase-heavy clunker whose vehicular set-pieces are almost as lame as the recurring sight of star John Cusack attempting to look cool while firing pistols. More »

Harmontown
Film Review: Harmontown

Open-nerve documentary about “Community” creator Dan Harmon’s chaotic live podcast tour after being fired from his own TV show is sometimes raggedly funny, but truly a fans-only artifact. More »

The Liberator
Film Review: The Liberator

Impressively mounted but overly truncated take on a great historical figure about whom much more needs to be known. More »

The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin
Film Review: The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin

Wide-ranging primer is involving but leaves some details hazy. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Equalizer Review
Film Review: The Equalizer

Former agent is drawn out of hiding to fight a Russian gang in a reboot of the 1980s television series. More »

The Boxtrolls
Film Review: The Boxtrolls

Another amazingly meticulous and stylish stop-motion tale from the Laika studio, this time focusing on a boy adopted by a population of maligned underground trolls. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here