Reviewed byGoldieCharmVote: 8/10
I just saw this movie and I am really hoping that many people will go see it. While I found myself comparing it to the Big Chill in several spots, the characters do a good job at making it their own. The casting is incredible. I was fully immersed in the story, hoping for certain outcomes in the character's lives, feeling deeply for some, finding comedic relief in others. Being that the attempted suicide by one member of this group of friends is at the heart of this "reunion", I have to applaud Jesse Zwick for not only taking it on, but for also not shying away from showing the many layers of human emotion that surround it ... the misunderstandings, outrage, fear and blame, guilt, and above all love and forgiveness, and hopefully different choices that can be made as an outcome. Good job to the new director/screen writer. You had me at hello.
Reviewed byClayton Davis (Claytondavis@awardscircuit.com)Vote: 8/10
Large ensembles have the opportunity to say different things from different characters. Before screening at Tribeca, many were calling this "our generation's" Big Chill from 1984, which was directed by Lawrence Kasdan and nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture. While there are obvious similarities in the number of people who are present, and themes surrounding love and death, newcomer Jesse Zwick, son of producer/director Edward Zwick, pours his heart and soul into each frame and reinvents a masterful motion picture. About Alex is a raw and beautiful morality piece about where the late twenty- somethings are presently. I loved nearly every second. About Alex tells the story of seven friends who reunite over a three-day weekend after one of them attempts suicide. As the friends take shifts to watch their unpredictable old friend Alex, past and new feelings come to the surface. An all-star is assembled that includes Aubrey Plaza (NBC's "Park and Recreation"), Maggie Grace (Taken), Max Minghella (The Social Network), Nate Parker (Arbitrage), Jason Ritter (Freddy vs. Jason), Max Greenfield (FOX's "New Girl"), and Jane Levy (ABC's "Suburgatory"). Each one of the actor's know their parts, actions, motivations, and completely immerse themselves in the characters. In particular, the standouts include Greenfield, who continues to steal every frame, from every show or film he's in, and Plaza, who takes on a new departure for herself and succeeds. Jesse Zwick, for his first writing and directorial feature, shows much promise of what could be an elaborate career. He handles his scenes with firm hands and a watchful eye of what he chooses to show and not show the viewer. He allows the surroundings, both inside and outside, become two new characters for the audience to embrace. Everything put together in About Alex is simply impressive. There are some technical hiccups that the film suffers from. Choices made by the film's editor doesn't smoothly transition from one scene to the other. As independent films go, the film stands tall on its own merits but I would have liked a more polished final product. All in all, About Alex is an absolute dream. Full of laughs and tears, the film raises the bar for this type of genre. It's a thoughtful piece that will have admirers for years to come. It's the best cast ensemble seen this year and of the Tribeca Film Festival.
Reviewed byAmari-SaliVote: 7/10
Trigger Warning(s): Suicide topics and imagery It is very weird to see a film about suicide. If just because, to a certain degree, it forces you to realize how odd of a subject it is to approach. Like in the film, we watch Jason Ritter's character, post- suicide attempt, gain this weird peaceful look. A look which reminds you that suicide is caused by many things, but part of the reason comes from a call for help unanswered. Sometimes by friends or even a higher power. Leading to the question: is this film worth seeing or perhaps it should be skipped? Characters & Story After having a bit of a downward spiral due to finances, among other things, Alex (Jason Ritter) decided to slit his wrists. Something he seemed to regret doing for he calls an ambulance for himself, as well as his friend Ben (Nate Parker) (1) who orchestrates a meeting of all of Alex's old friends. This includes Josh (Max Greenfield), a bitter PHD candidate who seems to hate everything and everyone, though probably fears his own company for too long; Siri (Maggie Grace) who is Ben's current girlfriend, the girl Josh wanted before Ben met her; Sarah (Aubrey Plaza), who is an attorney who Josh messed around with since he couldn't have Siri; Isaac (Max Minghella) who is the richest of the group and often clashes with Josh; and then, focusing on Ben, Ben is the one who introduced Alex to everyone and seems to be Alex's rock. Though not when he was in a deep need for his friendship. Leading us on what may feel like a familiar journey of college friends having a reunion, thanks to tragedy, in which their romantic entanglements come out; a lot of sex and drama happens; and ultimately you are left with a sense of hope for the characters, but aren't sure if it may last. Praise When it comes to this movie, I was really only familiar with Aubrey Plaza and Max Greenfield, who both really present themselves as actual actors, and oddly enough didn't approach their roles as one character fits all. Something which sort of shocked me, especially for Plaza, for it showed she had range. Aside from those two I must admit no one else really stood out, but they did present an interesting story and will keep you interested throughout. If just because you'll likely feel most of the characters are developed to the point where perhaps only Siri feels underdeveloped. Ben is a writer whose life isn't how he wants, and now has Siri who he loves, but is sort of growing apart from; Josh looks at Ben as this golden child who got everything he wanted, including things Josh himself wanted; Sarah is professionally successful, but romantically a mess; and Isaac we don't learn a huge amount about, but with his girlfriend Kate (Jane Levy) joining him, and through his interactions with Sarah, while his background may not be developed, through his relationships with Sarah and Kate we do get to know and understand him. Also, I should note, Levy's character, despite not being central to the story, is certainly interesting since she plays a 22 year old, just getting her career started, who is around a bunch of late 20 year somethings who are jaded, in their careers, and she is the outsider dating one of their friends. Criticism As confrontational as Josh is in the film about Alex's suicide, I feel that this film for some reason glazes over Alex's suicide just a bit too much so that everyone else's drama can get established and developed. With this though, Alex just becomes a catalyst for bringing everyone together and is largely forgotten about. And truly, after watching the film, only Sarah and Josh really stand out and everyone else strangely feel like their co-stars. Part of the reason is because Josh says things which get your attention, and Sarah is presented as more human than anyone in the film. For, in my opinion, as much as everyone does get the chance to be developed, between the information being boring, and their delivery not really getting my attention anyway, it really makes it so the film seems to sit on Plaza and Greenfield's shoulders. Like with Ben and Siri, they are made interesting due to Josh's jealousy, but take that away Josh from them and they lose any of their draw. The same goes for Isaac and Kate to a point, if Sarah wasn't pining over Isaac since she sees him as the one who she should have been with, then they also lose a lot of what kept them relevant. Though, again, the biggest victim is Alex since after his suicide attempt, pretty much Josh's callous ways, and Sarah trying to dote on him, are the sole reminders that what brought everyone together was him. Overall: TV Viewing Perhaps this maybe wrong to say, but in light of recent events I was hoping this film would really explore what leads a person to suicide and also how it effects the survivors in terms of the guilt associated with them perhaps being capable of preventing the suicide attempt, as well as trying to work with the person if they live. And while those topics are mentioned, they get drowned out in everyone's personal drama to the point you wonder why this movie is called About Alex when in truth it is more about everyone but him. Though, even with that said, this was a good movie to me and is very watchable. But, with it not really hitting the topic of suicide hard, and letting the would-be supporting characters end up the stars, I have to say this film deserves the "TV Viewing" label.
'About Alex' is the story of seven college friends who reunite over a three-day weekend, after one of them attempts suicide. When the friends get together to keep an eye on Alex, the weekend that ensues will renew old crushes and resentments, shine light on bad decisions, and ultimately push friendships and relationships to the brink as the group tries to speculate when the simple life of their college years turned so muddy and complex. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes poetic, and always moving, About Alex is a searingly honest look at the changing nature of adult friendship in the Facebook/Twitter generation.