Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Jamie Linden
Cast: Lynn Collins, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Brian Geraghty, Ari Graynor, Oscar Isaac, Ron Livingston, Justin Long, Anthony Mackie, Kate Mara, Max Minghella, Aubrey Plaza, Scott Porter, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum
Release Date: September 21st 2012
“You don’t have to pretend to like my kids, cheapest ” Cully (Chris Pratt)- a former high school bully- says early on in the new film, 10 Years. But it’s not the importance of ‘forgetting’ that plays a major role in the drama. It’s the power of ’remembering’ that dominates this story of a high school class that reunites after ten years of the real world.
Curry’s memories are ones that he would like to forget. He was the bully in high school, picking on the younger and smaller kids and making their lives miserable. He’s a reformed bully ten years later hoping- ever so naively- that he can make amends with his former victims in a single evening. The main character, played by the omnipresent Channing Tatum– seriously, what movie wasn’t he in this year– plays Jake, a well-liked guy from high school who’s in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend (played by Channing’s real-life wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum) but fondly remembers his high school sweetheart Mary (Rosario Dawson). Added to the festivities is Reeves (Oscar Isaac), the student who made good on his musical talents and has become a semi-famous musician.
Throughout the course of the film, we watch these and other characters mingle and flirt with each other and remember the good and sometimes bad memories they shared with each other.
There are times in the story when the feelings and emotions that these characters describe feel so real. The ambivalence about the past. The regrets. The idea that despite one’s own wishes, our own unique stories will remain with us- and our acquaintances- despite our wishes to the contrary and despite the fact that we all eventually grow up.
We might have grown up but that doesn’t mean that our high school selves have completed disappeared. We’re just hidden those personalities under suits and ties, guitars and goatees, and masks of maturity that can fall apart at any moment.
10 Years taps into such sensibilities and ultimately becomes a story about who people become after high school and how the high school years led them there. The ending of the story is superb but the film’s weaknesses lie in how it gets there. Too many of the early scenes seem scattered as if writer/director Jamie Linden wasn’t sure where the story would go, giving it an uneven pacing along the way.
The cast is great and is packed with young actors whose fame in Hollywood has yet to reach its apex. Pratt, for one, deserves special recognition for his performance as a character that could have come off as a jerk. Instead, Pratt presents an empathetic person who clumsily overcompensates for his personal failures.
The story should also be commended for not making easy decisions along the way. Life is too complicated for such simplicity. Overall, I have mixed feelings about 10 Years recognizing its strengths but understanding its weaknesses.
The film often feels disjointed and directionless during its first two-thirds but despite such weakness, it has noble intentions that are fully and nobly embraced in its final act.
Review by: John Hanlon