Laggies: TIFF review
Keira Knightley, one of the most interesting stars of the year. She charmed up a storm in Begin Again, and will soon chase her second Oscar nomination for the over-hyped The Imitation Game, but makes her biggest star turn as an American twentysomething in crisis in Laggies.
Knightley's Megan feels like a prisoner in her own life. She's still dating her high school sweetheart Anthony (Mark Webber), but it's the kind of relationship where she says "I love you" disingenuously, out of habit. Who hasn't been there? Plus, despite holding a master's degree in counselling, everything in her life is comfortable. She has the same catty friends she did when she was 17 (led by Ellie Kemper), is having the same sex, and is still working for her dad's business. Suffocating from the sameness, when her longtime beau proposes "spontaneously," she panics, befriends a group of chatty teens (with ringleader Chloe Grace Moretz), and buys them booze. Soon after, she moves in with Annika (Moretz) for a week and begins to relive her teenage glory days while re-evaluating her priorities. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Annika's dad happens to be a hot lawyer and lovesick divorcee Craig, played by Sam Rockwell. Craig is definitely on to her... and into her.
"Hey, did you hear the one about the grown woman who started hanging out with a bunch of pubescent kids?" asked Craig
"No, why?" said Megan.
"No, I'd never heard of it before either."
It may be new to Craig, but it's not an entirely novel concept of arrested development. Still, Megan's unabashed charm and temporary Peter Pan complex endear her to the viewer, even as she starts to make all the "wrong" choices, like shacking up with Craig. Directed by Lynn Shelton, of Touchy Feely and Humpday fame, this is her most mainstream romantic comedy yet, and it's also her best. The audience knows Megan will return home to Anthony, but they don't know under what pretext. Unpredictable, though riddled with cliches (did Annika really need to have a pet turtle, and did Megan have to spend a scene alone with it in the backyard?), Laggies is a confident, relatable comedy about the joys of growing up.
Once again, Knightley earns herself another critical hit, this time as an American. Her accent may blend right in, but her performance is luminous and magnetic. Fresh, well-written and immensely loveable, this movie brings the laughs, and in a just world, would earn Knightley a Golden Globe nomination in the Comedy/Musical category. Besides, she can brave the wind like a champ. What's not to love?