Flipped (2010)

Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by Rob Reiner & Andrew Scheinman

Rob Reiner. A great name in movies. To this point, there has not been a film directed by him that I have not at least liked. Flipped is an interesting release though. Not many people know about it and there are not any big big name actors in it, though it has its share of recognizable faces (John Mahoney, Rebecca De Mornay, Aidan Quinn, Anthony Edwards). Flipped, however, is a film fueled by the performances of its two main, unknown actors, Callan McAuliffe and Madeline Carroll.

The film is about two young kids. One male, one female. The significance of that last bit of information cannot be overstated. The male, Bryce Loski (McAuliffe), and his family have just moved into the neighborhood. Immediately Juli Baker (Carroll), takes a liking to the young kid. At this point they are quite young, yet the obsession is strong in Juli and the distaste equally strong in Bryce. What we have is a situation of love in the youth. However, as the relationship grows and we get to know the two a little bit better, their views of one another flip, as it were. And here is where the film succeeds best.

The film is told in a unique way. Many times the same scene is played over again, but from the opposite’s perspective. While this is a technique that I found to be unsuccessful in the movie Vantage Point, here, when dealing with love and the opposite sexes, I found it to be tremendously effective. The viewpoint of each of these kids was a great exercise in the differences between boys and girls and for the most part I found it to be pretty spot on. I guess the only drawback of this technique that I could find would be that it made the film somewhat episodic, though I would say that the flow was not choppy for me at least.

As for the acting, I thought the kids did a much greater job than did the adults. The adults just came off as overly dramatic and over the top sometimes while the kids seemed to be cast perfectly for their roles. The setting of the film in the late 1950s honestly did not affect the telling of the story very much, it was a universal story, but I love the 1950s and it definitely appealed to me while watching the film. The genius of Reiner seems to be hitting the right emotional notes and moments in this film. There are so many little things that the characters deal with, that they explore that just felt right, and you can’t underestimate a director’s ability to do this. Reiner is one of the best and I am always curious about his work. Here he turns in yet another solid offering in Flipped, a film about two young people who find romance, and deal with drama, hardship, and beauty along the way too.

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