What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1980s classic survives as an excellent, coming-of-age movie for teens. Teens-to-be may also enjoy it, but it may not be suitable for them, with its graphic teen drinking, teen sex and parental betrayal. More than just a teen flick, Say Anything... boasts fine performances, a lot of humor, and a well-chosen soundtrack. This is a true-to-life depiction of teen life. Both teens deal with the pain of broken families and oppressive family expectations.
What's the story?
In this smart, funny story about growing up and struggling with imminent responsibilities, Lloyd (John Cusack) is a teenaged kickboxer on no particular career path. Dianne is a brain with an overprotective father (John Mahoney). After graduation, the opposites fall for each other, spend the summer together, and end up making love, the details of which Dianne spills to her father. Dianne's father wants more for his daughter than a future with a slacker like Lloyd -- she's set to go to England at the end of the summer to attend acting school. Under pressure from her father, Diane breaks up with Lloyd. But when she discovers that her father has been stealing from the retirement home he owns, Diane reconsiders. Lloyd's the one person she's come to trust.
Is it any good?
You can call it "teen flick," but writer/director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) tells a story about people who just happen to be teens. A frank portrait of teens on the cusp of adulthood, this movie mines a type of movie that has acquired a (deservedly) negative reputation and comes up with gold. Utilizing stock elements of the genre -- hip soundtrack, slacker kids, and screwed-up families -- Crowe finds the stuff of great drama.
Much of the humor is found in adolescent awkwardness. Viewers can't help but feel Lloyd's angst as he asks Diane out, deals with her father, and evades an overzealous guidance counselor. But the movie's serious themes ring true as well. Diane's father isn't dismissed as a criminal who wants to keep the lovers apart. His stealing is a misguided effort to give his daughter the best of everything. Eric Stoltz (Some Kind of Wonderful) and Lili Taylor round out a superb supporting cast.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why Diane trusted Lloyd and why Diane's father acted the way he did. How do they cope with the stresses of teenage life?