Friday, June 9, 2017

Say You Will (SIFF 2017) - Movie Review

The Movie: Say You Will

The Director: Nick Naveda

The Cast: Travis Tope, Katherine Hughes, Israel Broussard, Sam Trammell, Michelle Forbes, Morgan Krantz, Adam Hagenbuch

The Story: A recent high school graduate cares for his mother and navigates his first relationship in the wake of his father's suicide.

The Review:
So, this is Nick Naveda's feature film debut both as a director and as a writer. If this is what we can expect from him moving forward then please sign me up, I will be there to watch all of it. The story might seem like a standard coming-of-age drama, but Naveda takes that concept and flips it upside down by creating a story that is very well thought out and is filled with flawed, authentic humanity. The dialog he has written for this film is absolutely brilliant in how honest and natural it feels and this level of quality allows the actors to come up with performances that are just so textured and, I keep going back to the word authentic because it rings so true.

While I have seen both Travis Tope and Katherine Hughes in movies before, I have never noticed them as much I did while watching their performances in this movie. Given center stage, they each crushed it both individually and while on screen together. Every moment they share on screen is just dripping with that nervous energy and tension that can only come from teenagers who see the world in front of them but have no idea what to do with it. There are several scenes that they have together that are just so moving, so inspiring, and, yes, I'm going there again, so authentic, that it's impossible to not feel every emotion they have so eloquently brought to life.

The Verdict:
Say You Will is one heck of a debut for Nick Naveda and the performances he gets from his entire cast are all pretty fantastic. The story is, at times, heartbreaking and the drama is very real, but there are also plenty of light hearted moments that keep things nicely balanced from beginning to end. If you enjoy films like Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or The Spectacular Now, then this is a movie you will definitely want to check out and I would even say that it is the best of all of them.

Say You Will is an official selection of the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival.

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