Coming of age is a genre in film rarely done justice, but Rob Reiner, director of Stand By Me and When Harry Met Sally, puts his familiarity with the genre to good use in his 2010 romantic comedy film Flipped.
In 1957 when 7 year olds Bryce Loski and Juli Baker meet, Juli is smitten but Bryce isn’t so sure. They attend the same school and live opposite each other, yet Bryce does all he can to avoid Juli despite her obvious affection towards him. Over the next six years she persists and yet he is irritated by the attention she gives him. Their friendship gradually builds but fluctuates over the years, she likes him and then she doesn’t, he likes her and then he doesn’t, and each time we see it from the point of view of both, bringing a personal touch to this heart warming film.
Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe, portraying Juli and Bryce, play their characters with wisdom well beyond their years, their emotions honest and powerful. Juli’s eccentric parents are played with a touching gentleness by Aidan Quinn and Penelope Ann Miller. Rebecca De Mornay and Anthony Edwards bring to life the conservative and troubled parental figures of the Loski family while John Mahoney’s portrayal of the grandfather, Chet, brings warmth and joy to the family.
The soundtrack of the films is formed of a wonderful array of songs synonymous with the excitement of the mid-century music scene, and each song brings a dazzling nostalgia to the film. Both the cinematography and editing gave the film a beautiful iridescence, the colours and light filling the screen with emotion. Reminiscent of the scintillating Technicolor films of the 1950s, the costumes, too, were crafted with thought and imagination to draw on the wide-eyed innocence of the teenagers of the time.
Flipped is a beautifully told journey of the relationship between two teenagers, drawing on the splendour and confusion of first love with a painful realism not often captured on film.