Restless (review)

Get new reviews in your email in-box or in an app by becoming a paid Substack subscriber or Patreon patron.

Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper in Restless

Well. Director Gus Van Sant (Milk) and screenwriter Jason Lew just went right ahead and upped the ante on the manic pixie dream girl. She now must not only be ethereally lovely, perfectly saintly, and at the same time completely bonkers, she also must be dying beautifully of cancer, the kind that doesn’t make your hair fall out but leaves you with a so-cute elfin haircut and a peachy glow. Oh, wait: A Walk to Remember did that a decade ago. Perhaps that nagging sense that there wasn’t a shred of originality in their work is what pushed Van Sant and Lew over the edge, for they sure do scramble to cram the “quirky” back into the please-god-kill-me-and-save-me-from-yet-another-ridiculous-teen-romance. Enoch. Seriously, our hero’s name is Enoch. He draws chalk outlines of himself in the street, like crime-scene cops do! He goes to the funerals of strangers… for fun! He has an imaginary friend! Who’s really a ghost… of a WWII kamikaze pilot! Enoch (Henry Hopper) and Hiroshi (Ryo Kase: Letters from Iwo Jima) play Battleship together. Adorbs. Oh, sure, Henry has Issues. Grief. Angst, even. But never fear. Annabel (Mia Wasikowska: Alice in Wonderland), she of the cancer and the glow and the sort of fabulous retro wardrobe it takes grown women decades to acquire, will make him fall in love with her just in time for her to die sweetly of a terrible disease. You see, Annabel has to die so that Enoch can move on from his obsession with death. How awesome for her, brought into fictional existence merely to allow Enoch to grow as a person. I’m really sick of stories in which women are sacrificed to men’s personal journeys. I expect better of Gus Van Sant. But worse, I’m sick of stories in which men say things like “Death is easy. It’s life that’s hard” because they are incapable of expressing their emotions. Grow the fuck up… but don’t expect a woman to die to force you to do so.

share and enjoy
If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
notify of
Inline Feedbacks
view all comments