I got to see this movie the other day at an early screening. I honestly only went because I'm traveling alone and was bored and it was free. I watched the preview and thought "Meh, high school Juno-quirky comedy. Boring." But I'm so glad I went because it was wonderful. I'm not a film buff at all but to my amateur eye the writing was superb.
  1. It makes dialog seem effortless
    An exercise: while you watch, imagine yourself writing what comes out of each next person's mouth. What was actually written is often surprising and inevitable. In my experience effortless almost always has tremendous effort behind it.
  2. It is genuinely funny
    I don't say this much about comedies. I guess I'm a curmudgeon. But I laughed out loud repeatedly.
  3. Rachel is believable
    It is almost impossible to write teenagers. Probably because teenagers as a rule can't write and adults know too much. So they're always slapstick, a caricature, or insufferable. But Rachel is a kid I 100% believe exists and I love her.
  4. Earl is courageous (as a character)
    He's black and he "sounds" black and he challenges all our assumptions without being didactic and I love him.
  5. Gregg is someone you can identify with
    Gregg is like a way more clever way more talented version of just about every unsure alienated lost teenage boy and it rings so true it transports you. He is fragile and I love him.
  6. It trusts us
    It trusts us to sort things out thematically. It trusts us to cope. It trusts us to be patient. This is something so many movies fail at. (And is probably as much direction as writing but anyway...)
  7. It is genuinely moving
    In the words of Billy Joel, "it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man's clothes."
  8. It is delightfully weird
    I'm always a sucker for weird for the sake of story.
  9. It made avant garde film seem like something meaningful
    I struggle with art appreciation. I sort of need meaning to be spelled out for me (you know, like in a book with words). But the avant garde-ish film at the end seemed genuinely meaningful despite its apparent lack of content.
  10. [placeholder for future spoiler anecdote about how I felt after]