Youth in Revolt is a 2009 romantic comedy drama, starring Michael Cera. Even though, in most films his character is basically the same, I can’t help but like him. I just think he’s really funny and relatable.
I’d never heard of this film before, but I saw it on Netflix and thought I would give it a go.
First, a brief outline of the film.
The film is an adaptation of C.D. Payne’s first book in a series of best-selling satirical novels starring Nick Twisp, a sexually charged 14-year-old whose intelligence and hormones get him into all sorts of adventures. Nick discovers a vacation romance in Sheeni, a girl who he instantly falls for. In order to secure Sheeni as his girlfriend, he must be kicked out of his Mothers house and sent to live with his Dad. He therefore creates ‘François’, his cool, reckless alter ego, who pushes him to rebel.
I liked the double persona aspect, his alter ego, ‘François’, who forced him do rebel and do things he normally wouldn’t. It allowed us to see the two sides of himself reacting differently to situations. Although reluctantly, Nick allows François to control his actions and responses, and they work together to achieve a common goal. There is a certain disagreement and conflict between them, when Nick wanted to sacrifice himself for his love of Sheeni. Towards the end, it became almost power struggle between his ideal self and his true self. He stood up to Francois and realised who he was. It made the film interesting.
The film was funny, but in a more subtle way than some other comedies. I love the Michael Cera’s funny responses to silly things. He says them quietly, almost under his breath, I think its very on point.
On the whole, I enjoyed the film, but thought it was constantly overly articulate and trying too hard to make its main characters appear different and intelligent. It was okay for the protagonist, Nick, to talk like this, but when Sheeni also spoke in this way, it kind of annoyed me. Real life teens wouldn’t talk like this, maybe one random guy, but not in general. I think the film was verging on a bit pretentious, perhaps.
Apart from that, I liked the film, though, with some of the characters I wonder why they were in there. How did they contribute to the film? Like Sheeni’s older brother- Paul- or Nicks friends, Lefty and Vijay.
It all got very dramatic when he was being chased by the police, though this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I know this film is all about, ‘Oh, you don’t have to be this cool guy to get the girl, don’t change who you are, be yourself,….’ etc. And he realised this in the end, but wasn’t it all the crazy rebel, stuff that got her in the first place? So I’m not really sure about this. I don’t know if the film, in its entirety, portrayed this message well enough.
I don’t like the representation of Sheeni in the film, AT ALL. Watching it, I didn’t like her. I thought she was a bit… meh. She was annoying, and made barely any effort on her part to make the relationship work; the guy just has to do everything and prove his love etc., and his reward? They sleep together. Hmmm.
Even though they are in love and it is implied that after juvenile prison they will still be together, I feel like the whole film was just a teenage boy on a quest to lose his virginity. I know that’s what the film is about, but the girl had no other dimension or distinct personality, apart from being the perfect prize. The main thing about her was that she was pretty. She was just the object of his affections, a prize for his trouble and a way for him to learn a lesson.
In fact, I think that the representation of women in the whole film is not that great. As well as Sheeni, Nick’s Mum is not portrayed well. She is dependent on her ever changing stream of boyfriends and doesn’t seem able to cope on her own. His dads girlfriend is young and totally superficial, going off with someone else after one mushroom party. Burnese, (a girl who Nick uses for one of his schemes) is portrayed as desperate, susceptible to manipulation and kind of stupid. furthermore, Sheeni’s roommate has only role in the film- to sleep with as many guys as possible. And again, she is just there for someone (nicks friend) to get laid. Basically, none of the women are sustained and unique characters. They all rely on men in the film and their characters are not portrayed positively, apart from Sheeni, who is a supposed embodiment of all that is good in the world -.- Okay.
I Think I’m getting a bit overly feminist here, and may be totally wrong, but it’s what I noticed and is deep-rooted issue in the film, I think.
I only say all this now, when I really think about the film, I didn’t notice before, I actually enjoyed it a lot. But, now I come to think about it, the men are not portrayed too well either. Apart from Nick, most of them are shown negatively. His dad, his mum’s boyfriends, Sheeni’s Dad, her ex-boyfriend, Mr Ferguson…
I think the film trying to show an obvious contrast between Nick and Sheeni, and the rest of the characters- putting them in a glowing light and the rest are shown as mean or unintelligent.
I was confused at the random bit of animation in the film. Namely, when the characters went on in the car, there would be some strange animation depicting the journey. In the opening credits it was okay, because it kind of made sense? But again like half way through, it was weird and out of place.
I sound really negative, but on the surface (when you don’t delve too deep) this film is quite enjoyable. I liked watching it, for the most part. The best thing was the parallel between Nick and François and their interactions in conflict or decision making. I only ponder at the hidden messages through the portrayals of many characters. I don’t know, am I looking to closely into it?
All in all, youth in revolt was above average.
Do you agree with what I’ve said? What did you think of Youth in Revolt? Let me know in the comments below.
I hope you liked this post.
Thanks for reading.