Articles, Film Reviews

Laggies (2014)

I originally caught Laggies on the big screen at the 2014 Twin Cities Film Fest. During that initial viewing, the film came across to me as a tame dramady about slackerhood. After having now seen it many months later, something about it has made me view it as a more poignant film than I originally came to understand. I kind of anticipated that this would be the case, especially since the movie remained in the back of my mind for so long, but something certainly ticked when I watched it a second time.

Keira Knightley plays the seemingly lazy with life Megan, who is uninterested with all the typical excitements that come with adulthood; she’s going through what I would call a quarter-life crisis. After being unexpectedly purposed to by her longtime boyfriend at the wedding reception of her best friend, Megan quickly makes up an excuse to avoid a straight answer and bails the party. Ending up at a convenience store, Megan meets Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her teenage friends who are looking for someone to buy them alcohol. Megan and Annika hit it off and Megan uses their friendship as a way to escape her life for a week. As a result, Megan bunks at Annika’s house under the reluctance of Annika’s divorced and lonely father (Sam Rockwell) hoping to find some footing by the end of the week.

The film is full of unexpected humor sandwiched between melodramatic situations. What makes it so intriguing is that it is expertly layered with conflict that keeps you guessing. I love when you’re over halfway through a film and you have no clear idea of how things are going to be resolved. Megan’s indecisiveness certainly leads the film down a path of complexity. While her misadventures are relatively straightforward, director Lynn Shelton maintains a vigorous amount of character interaction to keep things interesting.

As a prisoner of her own indecisive behavior, Megan gravitates towards the warm spots in her life. Of course this proves to be an unsuccessful way of navigating life, especially because many of the characters in Laggies seem to be stuck in their own traffic jam. In a way, the film reminded me a lot of Jeff, Who Lives at Home because of how the primary character has these very evident flaws while the secondary characters’ flaws are more than just skin deep. This allows the film to expand in more thematic territories and not straggle like Megan does.

In the most basic sense, Laggies is an entertaining film due to its storyline and acting. Knightley provides a wonderfully quirky performance that will most likely be overlooked due to the film’s proximity to The Imitation Game, a film in which Knightly shines as bright as ever. Rockwell also does a great job in the father figure role, which is a more stern performance than what’s usually seen from the externally goofy yet internally sensible actor. With such performances at her command, Shelton knits together an empathetic look at life approaching 30. It’s appropriately insightful while still maintaining a good amount of humor.

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