Suffocating Angst

Review of Jack and Diane at Northwest Film Forum by Anika M.

Twilight-y. Not in a good way.

Jack and Diane tells the love story of two teenage girls with the added element of their inner monstrous transformation. I am unsure of the original intent of director Bradley Rust Gray because this movie seems to lack commitment and development within its plot, themes, and characters and all together looks like a mess of repetitive scenes loosely strung together.

Jack and Diane, played by Riley Keough and Juno Temple, are two poorly developed characters that meet by chance in New York City. After spending one night together they decide, through no apparent emotional connection, that they are completely in love and need to drop everything to be together. The angst that these characters perpetuate is almost suffocating at times, an interesting caricature of the stereotypical teen relationship, just like Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in Twilight. While the angst behind the relationship is established right away and woven throughout the entire movie, the initial connection between Jack and Diane is never made, forcing the viewer to ask "Why is this worth it?" and "What do you see in her?" Because of this I find it almost impossible to really care about the success of the relationship.

Did I forget to say that there is a strange monster werewolf gore subtext that is never fully pursued but rather hangs there as an "Oh yeah, I’m here too" fly on the wall? Yeah. They seem to have a mess of hair growing inside of them as their relationship rapidly progresses and at times a grotesque monster appears while they dream.

Throughout the entire movie, metaphors and societal commentary are thrown about, making it hard to decipher and consider a core theme or idea. While some of the story and ideology is innovative and intriguing, the approach is confusing and ineffective. If the goal of the piece was put more into focus the story might have been more interesting and provocative, but to me it seems noncommittal and convoluted. Should you avoid this movie all together? No. It will get you thinking about something. What exactly I’m not entirely sure.

Jack and Diane plays for three more night at Northwest Film Forum:
Tonight, tomorrow, and Thursday, November 27 - 29 at 7:00 and 9:00 PM
More info at

Watch the trailer:

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