Earlier this month My Film Views created a five-step blogathon named The Five Obstructions. It consists on a series of challenges over the course of five months; five exercises that should defy our habitual creative process thus, hopefully, improving it. The first obstruction is to write either a positive review of a movie we don’t like, or a negative review of a film we love. I’ll go with the first approach, since I’m a sucker for underdogs. So I’ve chosen LOL, the teenage movie from 2012 starring Miley Cyrus. It’s not like I hate it. Let’s just say that I’m very aware of its flaws.
The purpose of this task is not to lie, but to dig deeper, challenging our perspective of the film at hand, and extracting as much positive meaning out of it. Let the obstructions begin.
While many may roll their eyes and sigh of utter boredom for the insignificant teenage issues presented in LOL in continuous disbelief in the upcoming generations, we must not only remind ourselves of its target audience, but also of how silly, irrational, ignorant and innocent we once were, or still are. Go back to when a bad breakup (or really, any breakup) caused everything else in your life to stop, when a fight with you best friend meant the end of a friendship, when parents were inexplicably annoying (actually, that may still apply well into adulthood), when rules were asphyxiating and long-term commitments of any kind were unthinkable; when a minor emotional problem would turn your entire life upside down in apocalyptic chaos. Over-dramatic? Obviously — but that’s what teenagers perpetually do, without ever realising.
So LOL, like many before and others yet to come, is simply trying to convey all this teenage angst through the microcosmos of Lola (Miley Cyrus), a high school student who started her year being dumped by her boyfriend, only to find true love in her close male friend, Kyle (Douglas Booth). He who has his own issues, namely a passion for music that his father does not approve of. Everything is blown to pieces when Lola’s mother, Anne (Demi Moore), reads her very secret and explicit diary, and is thus confronted with the fact that she doesn’t know her own daughter as well as she thought she did.
The story unfolds with simplicity and honesty, proving to be sufficiently true at its core: not every teen goes through the depicted scenario, but everyone has felt the disadvantages of not being in charge, of not being sure of one self, of not knowing where the line is drawn. Everyone involved shows enough commitment to pull off believable performances for, even when over-reacting in full teen mode, Kyle and Lola maintain a sweet love. Plus, they make one good-looking couple. And Demi Moore is, as expected, her normal talented self, bringing otherwise lost depth to the mother-daughter relationship.
LOL may not be the smartest approach to the world of teenagers, but it certainly is effective and to the point. Furthermore, it succeeds on a different and often diminished front, entertainment. It was said that we should mind LOL’s target audience, but it seems we should also mind the film’s purpose: for anyone who is interested, it proves to be a nice watch and ninety minutes of light entertainment that does no harm, so why are we so quick to judge it?