A Really Sweet Movie—In A Good Way
We just watched Rob Reiner's Flipped and really loved it. My six year old daughter enjoys anything with kids in it, but this wasn't just a kid's movie. I have to admit that I have been gravitating towards movies with real actors in it lately for my daughter to watch, like Nanny McPhee Returns. I'm a little over-saturated with all the computer animation these days. And I certainly don't want to waste time or money on some crappily-drawn fare like Alpha and Omega.
Flipped tells the story of a junior high romance, first from the perspective of the boy, then flipping over to the girl. It's a touch Wonder Years, but it goes deeper. It's not just a period piece, but it is set in the early sixties. It reminded me a bit of Up, in that there are real issues simmering throughout the film that the grown-ups will catch and the kids won't, but it is still enjoyable for all.
It was also interesting to me that the "scariest" scene in the movie for my daughter involved an emotional scene that a mentally disabled adult (the girl's uncle) had in an ice cream parlor when he dropped his ice cream on the floor. Real emotions, real life, really uncomfortable for the characters and the audience. The scariest scene for me was the cold, thoughtless, nasty remarks made by the boy's father at a dinner with the two families. Again, real, casual, evil behavior. And completely believable in that this can happen any day to anyone. There is so much anger and stupidity beneath the surface of some of these characters. But there is also unexpected kindness and a realization of one's faults. We actually get to see some of the characters grow up.
The acting is great, especially Madeline Carroll as Juli, and Aidan Quinn as her father. But Anthony Edwards also does a great job as a not-too-attractive character and John Mahoney is great as an old man who is awakened by a young girl's spirit.
It seems a shame to me that the theater where we saw this was almost empty (even though it was kind of fun almost having our own private screening) and that no one seems to know that this film was even an option. I have to admit I only found it because I was in the mood to go to the movies and was really looking hard through area theater offerings for something that I could take my daughter to that I could also enjoy. I had no idea when I saw the title what it was and had to look it up on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm glad I did. And I urge anyone who's looking for a great story, with or without kids along, to check this out. It's a good story. You'll flip.