Sunday, January 11

Laggies

I've always liked Keira Knightley outside her period pieces; she is one of those actresses whose movies I'd watch even if they don't always turn out to be good. Laggies is one of those movies. I was initially anticipating this, but the movie never goes beyond skimming its surface. Despite putting it in a pretty setting, there were elements missing that makes it fail to resonate beyond what is presented onscreen.

Meg is in her late twenties who is currently working as a sign girl in her father's office while she searches for a career she wants to pursue. Her lifelong friends were going on with their lives, opening businesses and getting married - basically doing what society deemed to be adult activities. Even her boyfriend of years has stopped being passive about their relationship, and proposes. Everyone of these people had one goal in common: prod (to a point of nagging) Meg to make stable life decisions. When everything started to pile up, she seeks refuge with a teenager she met days ago. 

The movie doesn't waste time in laying back stories, immediately taking the viewers to the shambles of Meg's life. However, this becomes the story's weakness, as it presented Meg without any possible resolutions with her life. How is supposed to get her life together if she doesn't know what she wants to begin with? Meg was written as someone who just moves with anything given to her. She has no distinct personality that would provide any information as to what she can be. The only factor the character has in her favor is that even when one is surrounded with people close to them, one still has the tendency to feel alone. That is what Meg is. She is alone, and in any case of her life she becomes dependent to anyone who would accommodate her. The screenplay pegged her family and friends as her main antagonists, but with the direction the movie proceeded with, there is a possibility that the new people Meg surrounded herself with will become the new antagonists in her life. 

Alongside the lack of Meg's personality, the people she surrounded herself with aren't top notch either, and are lost in their own lives as well. There's Annika, who is dealing with her teenage love problems and family woes, but does nothing to allow Meg see enlightenment. There's also Craig, who if not played charmingly by Sam Rockwell, could have been relegated to a thankless character. Even the people from her past were written to be prudes that you'd have to wonder what Meg saw in these people to be able to stay with them. 

Thankfully the movie was salvaged by Lynn Shelton's direction. She turned this piece to a tone that it was going for. She knew what to do with the actors, and was able to bring out good performances, particularly from the main actors. The cinematography certainly helped. If this was shot poorly, I wouldn't be able to give it a second glance. There were wonderful frames from different parts of the movie. I would rewatch this movie just to see how effortlessly it flowed to action.

Keira Knightley was able to make most out of her character. Her expressions were spot on, even if the progression of the story starts to lose sense. There’s also Sam Rockwell who puts his charm into use, and Chloe Moretz being a decent character, though a bit mild to the roles that she’s used to playing. 

Laggies was shot well, the actors were good, and Lynn Shelton did what she could with what she worked with. Still, it had the potential to be more than what’s presented on the surface, and the writing didn't utilize it. Even I felt robbed by the final scenes, there could have been better development involved that gives the movie a satisfying finish.


Final Word: Everything else about this movie drowned out my remarks about the characterization and the screenplay, so while this is not my favorite Knightley movie (or Sam Rockwell's, for that matter), it was a bit enjoyable.

Cast: Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell
Director: Lynn Shelton
Year: 2014

5 comments:

  1. I sort of liked it more, I think, I'm not sure.. but I wanted more from the end and Moretz wasn't my most favorite part about it all.

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    1. It's something I am certain I am going to watch again (it scores high on the 'rewatchablity' factor for me). It's the only role of Moretz's where I actually liked Moretz, though her character's mostly filler for the story.

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    2. Absolutely re-watchable for me. I found it sweet but yes, possibly could have been developed a bit more. Likewise I felt the ending could have been more satisfying. While I'd like to believe it was "happy-ish" I'm the eternal romantic and wanted it a bit more tangible.

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  2. I really want to see this. Like you, I love Knightley's naturalness. She just lives in every performance. One of our best.

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    1. She's a fantastic actress and really does what she can with what she's given to her. I don't think I've seen a horrible performance from her yet.

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