High school never truly ends, its lessons and laugh, taunts and first times living forever in memories. Those years are a shared (sometimes unfortunately so) experience, so many hands holding on to the electric fence at once, and so movies that touched hearts during that shared adolescence quickly become beloved classics -- and those that can cater to both the emotions of those that can most directly relate, and the viewer looking back at that time, well, those are the stories that stick.
FIrst time director David Robert Mitchell, who to this point has only completed two short films, looks to capture both that present pain and yearning reminiscence in his debut feature, "The Myth of the American Sleepover." A sort of mini-"Love Actually" story, it follows a number of interconnected story lines about teenagers doing their best to grasp on to the last days of the summer -- and make it count for something heavier than pool parties.
"Sleepover" stars a largely unknown cast that is already gaining special critical notice: aside from being a nice metaphor for the sense of invisibility during high school, the group won the Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Cast at the 2010 South By Southwest competition.
Filmed in Michigan, near Mitchell's childhood home, it drew freely from his own memories and classic teenage films, he told the New York Times.
"I embraced a lot of things, even some of the clichés, that happen in teen films," he told the paper. "The approach was to try to show them in a more natural way."
An official selection of Cannes Critics Week and winner of the Special Jury Prize at SXSW, THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER is a youthful and tender coming-of-age drama from first-time writer/director David Robert Mitchell. In the tradition of free-wheeling tributes to adolescence like DAZED & CONFUSED, the film follows four young people (a cast of brilliant young newcomers in their feature film debuts) on the last night of summer - their final night of freedom before the new school year starts. The teenagers cross paths as they explore the suburban wonderland they inhabit in search of love and adventure - chasing first kisses, elusive crushes, popularity and parties - and discover the quiet moments that will later resonate as the best in their youth.