The Art of Getting By and Some Kind of Wonderful REVIEW
Sometimes a movie has to be considered in the context of another to be interesting enough for me to write about. The Art of Getting By may be one of them. The central character is a young man in his senior year of high school who isn’t motivated enough to do homework (for a year). My son would call him a “multislacker.” His love interest and peers seem to be entitled rich kids of rather liberal and lost parents.
The basic plot shares a great deal in common with the far better and older film, Some Kind of Wonderful, a film that I have thought highly of for decades. Here are some similarities between the two movies. They both deal with the love lives of high school seniors about to graduate. Both have leading male actors who have overriding interests in art (despite having parents that are less than thrilled about this as a career path). Both films deal with the difficulties of navigating a love interest through class and status-conscious peers. Both have decent musical soundtracks to back up the story. The end of both movies involves a “will she or won’t she?” – slash – “will he or won’t he?” reveal moments. Both films use a painted picture as a statement about love and authenticity. Both films involve teenagers trying to sort themselves out without a great deal of adult help –indeed, adults are the least helpful allies to these children. Both movies make it seem like it is not difficult for a high school student to get admitted to a bar.
But all this is incidental. Here is what both movies say to their target audiences (I assume teenagers in their senior years or thereabout):
Successful coupling takes two vital skills – one is to figure out what you want. Two is to figure out how to say it when you know. What makes successful coupling so truly complicated is that there are at least two people (often more) involved in this messy process and often they are not accomplishing the above two tasks at the same exact times. Sometimes one figures out what they want sooner than the other and sometimes one figures out how to say it sooner than the other.
Both films try to end on happy notes by having all protagonists figure it out eventually.
Perhaps in some people’s real lives, this happens. It is sad to think of how many passionate love relationships were left to decompose because these four moments did not happen on some sort of reasonable timetable.
Question for Comment: When you think of a relationship that worked or did not work in your own life, what was the relationship between these four things: When person A figured out s/he wanted to be with person B; when person B figured out they wanted to be with person A; when person A figured out how to tell person B about the feeling; when person B figured out how to tell person A about the feeling?