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

The Congress
Film Review: The Congress

Part live-action, part cornea-searing animation, this cinematic overload is ambitious but ultimately fatigues as it plays with the intriguing notion of a fading Hollywood star selling rights so her cyberspace avatar can rise to superstardom and stay forever young in virtual reality. Flashy animation and cynical stabs at celebrity culture and movie-studio finagling keep things lively for a while. More »

The Last of Robin Hood
Film Review: The Last of Robin Hood

Serviceable vehicle for a salacious story. More »

Last Weekend
Film Review: Last Weekend

A sort of modern Chekhovian study of family tensions over a country weekend, this indie drama is very pretty to look at and at times disarming, but needed more punch. More »

The Notebook
Film Review: The Notebook

An aloof adaptation of Agota Kristof's best-seller that's technically impressive but precludes audience identification. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Film Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Neither significantly better nor worse than its predecessor, the belated Sin City sequel is more of a repeat, rather than a continuation, of the original. More »

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. 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