Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Minutes Review - Flipped

One of my favourite things in the movies is nostalgia. I love the idea of a simpler time where kids were sweeter and more innocent. Where you could trust your neighbour and appreciate the simple things like touching hands with the boy across the way, weeding the front lawn and climbing the old sycamore tree to take in the view from the top. And of course there was grandpa who wasn't old and senile but tender, loving and always knew how to bring all the problems together and set them back on the right foot.

I also love that moment between childhood and adolescence where nothing makes sense, everything isn't as how you imaged it to be and the only way to grow up and get on with life is to make the stupid mistakes and then reflect back; hoping you learned something and didn't do irrevocable damage.

Flipped, Rob Reiner's best film is over ten years, has all of these things. It's a beautiful postcard to the early 60s, and a sweet tale of two kids who live across the street from each other. One is Juli Baker (Madeline Carol) who is desperately in love with Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) from the moment his family moves in across the street. They are both young and while playing their hands connect for a brief moment, more or less sealing their fate.

Grown up into adolescence, Bryce wants nothing but for Juli to leave him alone. His family is upper class, his father, subtly suggested to resort to the booze to make up for a missed life as a musician, is cold and demeaning while Juli's family is poor but full of love and are judged by the state of their front yard. Her father is an aspiring painter which also is greeted with scoffs across the street.

This goes on until, as events must transpire, Bryce realizes that he really likes Juli while Juli slowly realizes maybe Bryce wasn't what she had envisioned after all. This is all told in voice over as the same events are flip-flopped back and forth to be told first from Bryce's point of view and then Juli's.

And holding everything together is Grandpa (the invaluable John Mahoney) who has moved in with Bryce and who is kind, knowing and misses grandma.

All of this is sweet and innocent and doesn't hurt anyone. It takes place in a whimsical movie land which once doubled as America but now, all these years later, seems like a distant fantasy. It's exactly the kind of movie that makes you sit back, smile and remember the days when things were both so simple and yet so complicated all at once. The best days, some may argue, of our lives.


  1. Great review. I'm amazed how polarizing this film is to viewers. They either really love or really hate it. I'm betting it's more of a crowd pleaser than a critical darling. Still, its on the queue and I'm looking forward to seeing it some day soon!

  2. Dave - I guess there isn't a lot of room for movies that don't go 100 mph anymore. I'm also looking forward to Reiner's next film A Summer At Dog Dave's the script for which I read and did love.

  3. I didn't read your whole piece because I want to see the movie, and I'm concern you may tell me things I'd rather discover on my own. (Forgive the distrust of your critical restraint in this regard -- it's nothing personal, just a reflex habit.) But I'm glad you ended up really liking it, because at the time I first wrote about it in the abstract when it was released, you chimed in with your hopes that it would be good. I'm pretty sure I would like it -- I've supported some Reiner movies that most people have not liked, such as The Story of Us, though I believe you also liked that. If it's as good as The Story of Us then I am truly excited. (Then again, Reiner also made such films as North, Alex & Emma and The Bucket List, so I need to be careful not to over-trust him.)

  4. Vance - Flipped > Story of Us
    Flipped < Stand by Me

  5. Vance - On that note, and if you're reading my response to the Water for Elephants comment you may see a pattern but, I've read Rob Reiner's next movie Summer at Dog Dave's and on paper it's every bit as wonderful as this or the other great Reiner comedies. Can't wait.