August 23, 2010

Love’s sweetness never grows old

Posted in Between Us column, Entertainment, Movies, Relationships at 3:15 pm by dinaheng

Ah, the sweetness of young love. One day, you can’t live without him (or her). The next day, you could care less about the crush you thought would last forever.

A new Rob Reiner film, “Flipped,” captures the angst and joy of young love in a sweet coming-of-age romantic comedy that shares the perspectives of Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) and Juli (Madeline Carroll), from the time they meet in second grade to junior high school.

The film, in theaters August 27, is based on a novel by Wendelin Van Draanen that Reiner read six years ago with his son Nick, when the boy was 11 years old. When Nick suggested that the book would make a good movie, Reiner agreed.

The book captured all those confused feelings you have the first time you fall in love,” says Reiner, who directed the film and collaborated with Andrew Scheinman on the screenplay. “Nobody ever forgets the first person they had those feelings for. For me, her name was Cathy Schrillo. She was short, blonde, and a tomboy, and I was 12.

“When I tried to kiss her, she hit me with a hairbrush, which is when I knew it was true love because I was willing to risk physical harm for a kiss. We exchanged ID bracelets, and eventually kissed.”

The film moves the story out of the novel’s present day time period into the late 1950s and goes up to 1963, the era in which Reiner grew up. He says the time change allows the movie to focus on timeless emotions without the distraction of cell phones and text messaging.

The filmmaker, who’s explored romantic relationships in films like “The Princess Bride,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and “The American President,” says he makes the same film over and over.

“Girls and women are so much more emotionally developed than boys,” Reiner says. “Boys are always playing catch up… until you find someone to fall in love with who is patient enough to wait for you. Women and girls, because of their nurturing nature, are more connected to their emotions than men are.”

Along with exploring a grade school crush, the film is about discovering who you are, what you believe in, and the definition of family. As Bryce begins to understand a small-minded father who has given up on his dreams in order to become financially successful, Julie starts to appreciate her father, who has sacrificed financial success in order to care for his mentally disabled brother.

“Juli’s father doesn’t care that he doesn’t have the financial status that his neighbors have because he’s going to take care of family no matter what,” Reiner says. “Juli is raised with those values, and Bryce has to learn those values. The values that Juli’s family has are much stronger than Bryce’s family.”

While the story spans six years in the lives of two kids who live across the street from each other, the film shows that love’s sweetness never grows old, and that the strength of a family lies in the love they share — a timeless message for both young and old.

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