Critic Consensus: Mia Wasikowska puts in a nuanced performance but nobody else, actors and directors included, are capable of finding a compelling angle beneath the twee veneer.
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Critic Reviews for Restless
If you haven't seen a wasting disease in real life, you might think "Restless" is romantic. If you have, you might diagnose it as terminally cute.
"Restless" exudes the maturity that eludes Mr. Van Sant's previous fusions of youth and death. It's too bad he still hasn't learned to shower his female leads with the same adoring attention he lavishes on his male ones.
This movie pretends it's about death -- our couple meets because Enoch crashes funerals, a literary device that has no relevance here -- but it never scratches past the perfect pale void faces of its leads.
Audience Reviews for Restless
A detestable and irritating indie film full of indie clichés from beginning to end that seems to exist only to test the viewer's patience and ability to endure a protagonist who is so selfish, immature, ill-mannered and obnoxious amid conflicts that are all artificial and ridiculous.
This is basically a contemporary take on Harold and Maude. For that reason, I was rather hesitant to see this, mostly because Harold and Maude is an amazing film, and one that really struck a chord with me. I kept an open mind though, and, while this film is similar to that one, it ultimately stands on its own.
This is the story of a quirky romance, as shown through the lens of the talented and versatile Gus Van Sant. Enoch is a sullen and troubled lad whose 'hobby' as it were, is to crash funerals, whether he knows the deceased or not. He also spends a lot of time with Hiroshi- the ghost of a Kamikaze pilot who may or may not be just a figment of Enoch's imagination.
At one of his many funeral crashings, Enoch has a meet cute with Annabel- a young woman ho loves nature, and like Enoch, spending time among the dead. Thinking she just works at a ward for 'kids with cancer', he comes to find out that she is instead a patient, suffering with a terminal brain tumor. Knowing she doesn't have much time, the two try to make the most of their blossoming relationship, with her getting some much needed understanding, and him learning that life doesn't have to be a gloomy as he thinks it is.
This is a very sweet and poignant film. Thankfully, it rarely gets too sappy and schmaltzy. Even the quirkier elements like Hiroshi, are handled in a fairly realistic manner, despite how unrealistic it might seem. The film is also pretty solid with the characters and story, though there are a few plot points that don't really go anywhere and could have been handled better (namely the Halloween bully confrontation).
Danny Elfman provides a solid, atypical (for him) score, Van Sant provides some good direction, and the lead performances by Henry (son of Dennis) Hopper and Mia Wasikowska are great. Ryo Kase is also quite good as Hiroshi, and even though it is odd, I like the idea of Enoch being friends with a Kamikaze pilot.
Give this one a shot. It's a nice, well done indie film, and makes for a great date night watch.
Nicely acted and looks great. Mia Wasikowska is outstanding here. Story is a little slow, probably the worst thing I could say. I can see why some would not like it at all as its not the most cheerful topic, and some of it is a little pretentious. Though I enjoyed it, mostly the performances, it would not be a movie I would rush to watch again.
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