Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: "Chasing Amy" is Worth Chasing (Happy B'day, Kevin Smith)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 107 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Chasing Amy (1997)
Running time:  113 minutes (1 hour, 53 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong graphic sex related dialogue, language, sexuality, and drug content
PRODUCER:  Scott Mosier
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  David Klein (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier
COMPOSER:  David Pirner
Golden Globe nominee


Starring:  Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, and Jason Mewes

The subject of this movie review is Chasing Amy, a 1997 romantic comedy and drama from writer-director Kevin Smith.  It is the third movie in Smith’s world of films known as the “View Askewniverse.”  The film follows two young men who are comic book artists and a third comic book artist, a young woman, who catches the attention of one of the young men.

Writer/director Kevin Smith wowed audiences with his debut film, Clerks, and promptly stumbled with the problematic follow up, Mallrats.  The promise of the first film was more than met with Smith’s third film, the frankly sexually political Chasing Amy.

Comic book artist Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) has been looking for the perfect woman and falls for Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams, who received a 1998 Golden Globe nomination for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical”), who, much to his disappointment, turns out to be a lesbian.  Still, Holden and Alyssa build a special relationship, but it threatens to come tumbling down when Holden’s long-time friend and comic book collaborator, Banky Edwards (Jason Lee, 1998 Independent Spirit Award “Best Supporting Male”), digs up some awful dirt on Alyssa.

It would be easy to call Chasing Amy (Independent Spirit Award for “Best Feature”) outrageous because of its subject matter, and though some of the humor is outrageously funny, the film takes a painfully intimate and detailed look at sexual politics.  Same sex relationships, sexual experimentation, promiscuity, gender roles, stereotypes, role playing, bigotry, double-standards, and pretty much everything related to the world of intimate relationships Kevin Smith throws on the table in his delightfully written, delectable, engaging, and witty script.  The acting is good, and Smith’s direction is unobtrusive, allowing the cast to gradually warm up to their roles and make the film their own.  The cast is at ease with the material and understands it shocking well; they make this story work on the screen.  However, in the end, the strength is in Smith’s thoughtful script (Independent Spirit Award for “Best Screenplay”), which unashamedly looks at the minefield that is love between a man and a woman in a time when so many go into new relationships with a lot of sexual experience and/or a lot of hang-ups about what is right and true.  This is brilliant work.

8 of 10

1998 Golden Globes, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical” (Joey Lauren Adams)

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Updated:  Friday, August 02, 2013


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