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Every now and then there are films that come along and I just can't quite express my feelings towards them. In my opinion, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a recent release that fits that description. While I definitely enjoyed myself when watching this film, it almost felt like the filmmakers had much more to say than what was literally presented on-screen. There are hidden messages throughout this movie and that’s where I find the majority of people who like this movie will be forming their argument from. If you were to sit a thousand hardcore indie film fans in a theatre and have them watch this movie, I can guarantee that roughly 500 of them would either like or love it and the other half may even walk out halfway through its runtime. Without having discussed this film with anyone I know personally, here’s why (in theory) I believe this will be viewed as one of the more polarizing indie films of 2018.
Following a group of three young men as they stumble upon a seemingly normal party in London, England, they enter to find the exact opposite. Realizing that inhabitants from another world have taken over human bodies, one of these boys, Zan, falls for one of the inhabitants, Enn. This particular portion of the story is what hooked me because their awkward interaction/romance with each other was pretty entertaining to watch grow. What I must warn, however, is the fact that this off-beat romance between Zan and Enn is just about as normal as this film ever becomes.
From bizarre costumes, to the extremely bizarre behaviours of some of these clans, to the sheer visual being incredibly out there, I felt like I was watching a solid romance, wrapped in a weird world that was trying to be far more than it had the right to be, concluding on a note that both satisfied me and left me wondering why it went in the direction that it did. This is a very hard film to recommend to anyone really, because you’ll either embrace the weirdness that this film possesses from start to finish or you’ll be turned off by the very first sequence. For fans of quirky indies, this movie may just be the film that you’ve been waiting for, but I can't say that about the movie as a whole.
The chemistry between Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp was easily the highlight of this movie because it would’ve fallen apart if that aspect of the movie didn’t work. Honestly, anytime this film deviated from that aspects, I was either wishing they would come back on-screen immediately or I was simply hoping for a little more depth into this alien world. The romance aspect of this film drives the story forward, but the underlying notion that an alien race has been living among us isn’t explored enough in my opinion. It has a solid payoff in the final few moments, but I was left wanting so much more from it.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties reaches for the stars in certain moments and, quite frankly, asks a few more questions than it answers, but I was able to forgive that in exchange for the core premise following Zan and Enn. The visual style was unique and the story itself held my interest throughout the majority of the movie, but I wouldn’t expect to be blown away by a wonderful payoff. It’s a bizarre movie that I had a decent time watching. As far as a final recommendation goes, I would simply recommend checking it out at your own risk, after checking out the trailer and assessing for yourself.