Say Anything (1989)

Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack, Philip Baker Hall, and Lois Chiles.

I don’t usually enjoy romantic films, especially the awful ones that they spew out four or five times a year. Usually they are predictable, vomit-inducing nightmares. But, surprise, surprise, the 80’s produced one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time. And I’m not biased, I was born in 1993, but if I could’ve been a teenager in the 1980s I would’ve thrived.

The film is set in the city of Seattle, Washington, and surrounds the story of Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), an aspiring young kick-boxer and an average student, and how he has his heart set on wanting to go out on a date with the school’s beautiful, talented valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye), on the day of their graduation. What Lloyd doesn’t know, is that Diane has just won a fellowship to study in England, and is supposed to be travelling there at the end of the summer. Lloyd invites her to go to the graduation party that evening, and she reluctantly accepts, intrigued by his willingness and motivation.

At the graduation party, Diane is welcomed with open arms by her other students, which surprises her, and Lloyd looks out for her at all times during the party, just to make sure she’s okay. Because she is so different from him, this prompts various party goers to ask her:
“What are you doing with Lloyd Dobler?”

After the graduation party, the two of them form a close friendship together, and begin to see each other regularly, which eventually turns into a relationship, much to Diane’s father’s (John Mahoney) dismay. This is mostly due to the fact that Lloyd isn’t as academic and career motivated as Diane is.

During their time together, Lloyd seeks relationship advice from both his sister and his female friends, most prominently Corey (Lili Taylor), who help him embark on his first serious romantic relationship. He even writes Diane a letter, which simply states how he feels about her.

As always though, some obstacles are put in the way of their relationship. Diane’s father is under investigation by the IRS for apparently stealing money off the dying residents of the nursing home he owns; and as her relationship with Lloyd becomes more intimate, she feels that she should be spending more time with her father during this time, especially as she would be going to England at the end of the summer. Her father also pressures her to break up with Lloyd as he doesn’t approve of their relationship, which eventually she does out of respect for her father, which crushes Lloyd.

Lloyd then tries for the remainder of the summer to win her back, by doing various things like, standing outside her window with a boom box played their song (“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel), and calling her asking for her back. After a while he gives up, and tells her in one last voice message to destroy the letter he wrote to he, as  it “hurts him to know it’s out there”.

Diane finds out that her father was stealing the money from his patients and is heartbroken that he lied to her, and goes to find Lloyd because she wants him back, which he accepts due to his undying love for her, and helps her through her father’s incarceration and goes with her on her trip to England, which prompts the end of the film.

The film is inspiring and sophisticated, and is very different from the other romantic films of that period. It is much smarter and has a more realistic take on high-school romance, instead of the constant “I love the most popular guy in school  but he’s going out with the most popular girl in school, but I need to go to prom with him” sort of films. Not that all those ones are all bad, I mean, Pretty in Pink was amazing. But you know what I mean.

Verdict: A brilliantly, constructed film, an excellent soundtrack and an inspirational take on high-school romance. One of John Cusack’s finest films.

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I wasn’t expecting a documentary when I rented this movie. No external source evidenced to me that this was a documentary, but regardless I enjoyed the movie. Charline Yi proposed