“I Like Movies”


Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10), TMDB.com (7/10)

It’s admirable when someone has obvious enthusiasm for a personal passion and is eager to share that sentiment with others. However, it’s something else entirely when that burgeoning zeal is expressed with condescension, arrogance and disdain toward others when they share their views on the subject. That’s the issue 17-year-old Canadian high school senior Lawrence Kweller (Isaiah Lehtinen) wrestles with when it comes to his love of movies. As an aspiring film student seeking to attend New York University after graduating as part of the class of 2003, he speaks about his obsession – often quite naively – as a pompous, self-absorbed aesthete who doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does (and doesn’t realize it either). He routinely puts down fellow students in his media studies class, co-workers at the video store where he works, his widowed, hard-working single mother who struggles to make ends meet and even his supposed best friend and film project collaborator, Matt (Percy Hynes White). While it’s true that some of Lawrence’s behavior is attributable to psychological troubles and personal trauma, there are limits to what others will tolerate. The result of this is a series of hard lessons in comeuppance, especially when his inflated, entitled attitude is slapped back by those looking to put him in his place. Writer-director Chandler Levack’s debut feature serves up a smart, sassy, edgy comedy-drama about learning how to be legitimately inspired and impassioned without making an insufferable ass out of oneself, youthful inexperience notwithstanding. The picture is loaded with hilarious and poignant movie references that avid cinephiles are sure to love and appreciate, as well as an array of sidesplitting coming of age bits that probably take many of us back to the geeky ways of our own adolescence. Admittedly, some of the story threads seem a little implausible and don’t work as well as they might have (especially in the final act), and a few of the jokes – though funny – nevertheless stand alone like comic islands that seem disconnected from the main narrative. Nevertheless, “I Like Movies” is an otherwise-whimsical, delightful, engaging indie gem that will remind us of what it was once like to be idealistic yet blissfully ignorant, one that we can only hope will leave an indelible impression on younger viewers whose off-screen behavior tends to mirror that of the protagonist. Indeed, it’s one thing to love movies, but it’s something else entirely to think that life operates the same way.