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Laggies (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Running Time 100 minutes.

Not for children.

28-year-old, Megan (Keira Knightley) is a woman stuck in a rut, holding a job twirling signs advertising her father’s (Jeff Garlin, maybe best known as Larry David’s accountant on the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm), accounting firm, still hanging out with her high school crowd, and living with her high school boyfriend, Anthony (Jeff Weber). She’s discomfited, however, being brought to the realization that her life is going nowhere, bothered that she never seems to come of age. By chance, she meets a teenager, 16-year-old Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz, who is appearing as we speak as a prostitute in The Equalizer), and starts hanging with Annika and her high school friends. Annika sneaks Megan into her home behind the back of Annika’s father, Craig (Sam Rockwell), to sleep there surreptitiously. Talk about your quintessential chick flick!

But chick flick or no, I loved it. Knightley is truly an amazing actress. She does things with her eyes that provide mirrors to the soul of her characters. And Moretz is not far behind her. For one of such tender years, her two roles this year, as a prostitute and a kind of wild teenager, display an admirable range. And she needs the range because, in a kind of role reversal Megan sees subconsciously that there are some life lessons to be learned by hanging with this astute teenager and her friends.

But it’s not just the chicks. Rockwell also gives an exceptional performance, as does Weber. Extremely well directed by Lynn Shelton from a script by novelist Andrea Seigel, writing her first screenplay, this is just a wonderful movie all around. While Megan goes from one lie to another, she engenders empathy throughout the film. Seigel’s script is poignant, intuitive and funny. Shelton keeps the pace moving so one never gets antsy.

As to the title, it seems to be a word coined by Seigel. Says she, “Where I grew up if someone was slow and aimless, you’d call them a ‘laggie.’ “It must be a local thing because other people aren’t familiar with the term.”

Chick flick or no, coined words or no, this is a winner.