The first half of this quietly affecting movie is pretty great. Felicity Jones from Like Crazy) is a wonderment, and she plays a difficult role extremely well, and it’s hard not to side with her and fall a little in love with her complex character.
A young female exchange student changes the lives of those around her, particularly the family with whom she’s staying.
High school music teacher Keith Reynolds (Guy Pierce) and his wife Megan (Amy Ryan) invite a foreign exchange student from England to stay in their home for an extended period of time, and when Sophie (Felicity Jones) arrives, she’s withdrawn and emotionally … intriguing. Keith and Megan’s teenage daughter Lauren (played by Mackenzie Davis), who’s the same age as Sophie, is going through a difficult time with a broken, intimate relationship with a shit of a boy, and when Sophie tries to fit in at school, she inadvertently gets the attention of the same boy Lauren is in love with. Sophie, an understated musical prodigy, meanwhile gets Keith’s careful attention, and her interest in his melancholy demeanor appeals to her in a way that seems magnetic and beautiful. As they begin to form an inappropriate bond at home and at school, Lauren begins to suspect that Sophie is manipulating the men that are important to her (but she’s not), and she takes drastic measures to get some attention. The revelation of the secret between Keith and Sophie is revealed at a critical moment in the film, and Keith must choose a path that will either grant him happiness (at a great price) or he must forsake happiness and choose to carry on his commitment to his family and save his career.
The first half of this quietly affecting movie is pretty great. Felicity Jones from Like Crazy) is a wonderment, and she plays a difficult role extremely well, and it’s hard not to side with her and fall a little in love with her complex character. High school life and youth in general is convincingly portrayed by the young actors in the film, and as an unsatisfied teacher with potential to be a formidable musician, Guy Pierce does a credible job at showing us what it would be like to be in his position. Unfortunately, the film takes a wrong turn in the last act of the movie when events are set up to go down a certain way, which felt manufactured and false, but the movie’s worth seeing if just to watch Felicity Jones in it. Writer / director Drake Doremus also worked with her on Like Crazy.
Bonus features on the Cohen / Kino Lorber Blu-ray disc include the making of the film, and an exclusive interview with the director. The film is presented in nice, crisp high definition.