Review: 10 Years
PLOT: On the night before their ten year class reunion, a group of friends gather to catch up on old times. During their celebration, they drink, they reminisce and they come to the realization that some scars don’t heal as easy as they once thought.
After a screening of the ensemble seriocomic reunion picture 10 YEARS, a colleague of mine mentioned that it was very well done but he also said he didn’t see the point. So the question is why should a movie like this about a 10 year high school reunion get made? Perhaps a movie about several people growing up and facing all those high school memories again won’t change the world. It is a safe bet that it won’t. But maybe the entire point is simply to live vicariously through characters dealing with the same issues we all face as we get older. Maybe just to smile at our own foibles because even the pretty people have doubts as well.
Generally movies that have a cast this size collapse due to the sheer weight of its star power. Films like NEW YEAR’S DAY or VALENTINE’S DAY try so desperately to enlighten and give the stars their time to shine, but they oftentimes fail. Yet in 10 YEARS, there is a surprising amount of sincerity in the performances. The massive cast includes Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Lynn Collins, Rosario Dawson, Oscar Isaac, Kate Mara, Anthony Mackie, Aubrey Plaza, Justin Long, Ari Graynor, Chris Pratt, Max Minghella, Scott Porter and more - it is a likable ensemble of near thirty-year-old characters trying to recapture their youth. Some are successful, others are living in a single apartment in New York barely able to make rent, yet they all hope for a glorious weekend to forget about who they have become.
The film begins and ends with Jake and Jess (real life couple Tatum and Dewan-Tatum) as he is seemingly keeping a secret (possibly two) from the current love of his life. On the way, they reconnect with the rock star (Isaac), the married with children couple (Graynor and Pratt) and the wannabe ladies man (Long). You get the idea, each of these actors take on the usual stereotypes but somehow the fine performances and the occasionally fresh dialogue resonate beyond the typical fare. 10 YEARS is more GARDEN STATE as opposed to the overtly sappy VALENTINE’S DAY. And similarly to the quirky Zach Braff directed rom-com, music is used almost as well here - aside from the this is not my Smashing Pumpkins version of “Tonite, Tonite” performed by Passion Pit. Where is Billy Corgan when you need him? I will however give props to Oscar Isaac for his pretty little tune called “Never Had” which he also co-wrote with Alan Doyle.
Writer/director Jamie Lindon has a keen eye when it comes to casting and placing his actors in the appropriate roles. In his directorial debut, he is able to keep the film moving by letting most of the actors have their moment in the sun. It was really nice to see Lynn Collins used as well as she is here. As Anna, the onetime party girl, she gives one of the best and most compelling performances in the film. The back and forth between her and Justin Long and Max Minghella is surprisingly heartfelt when the two finally see who she really has become. And as obvious and ridiculously convenient as her storyline was, I couldn’t help but fall for Kate Mara fresh off of playing a terrifyingly devious “other woman” in the FX series “American Horror Story.” She is absolutely perfect here as is her on-screen crush Oscar Isaac.
As a producer on this project, Channing Tatum was smart to play off of his lovely real life wife Jenna. Oftentimes off-screen romances fail to translate when the camera is rolling, not so here. Even with the strikingly gorgeous Rosario Dawson as the ex-girlfriend causing a ripple in their romance, their connection is utterly charming and sweet. Thankfully the three charismatic actors give the film its center and a nice dynamic for the others to play off of. For the most part, 10 YEARS rises above its formulaic structure. It may not be life changing or even original, but it is a feel good movie that reminds us that we are all a little afraid of growing up.