Starring: Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee
Director: Kevin Smith
Running Time: 113 mins
Chasing Amy is an American film about a man who falls in love with a lesbian woman, and his determination to build a relationship with her infuriates his long-term best friend.
This is a fantastic film. Honest, personal and heartfelt, yet brilliantly funny and a little provocative, Chasing Amy perfectly straddles the line between quirky indie movie and classic romance.
With brilliant performances across the board, passionate and energetic direction and an intimate and insightful screenplay, it’s an enormously entertaining and entirely engrossing watch that brilliantly captures the endless complexities and struggles of love.
Those themes and the film’s premise may lead you to believe it’s just another Hollywood rom-com. However, if you’re a fan of the fluffier side of the genre, then I would be a little cautious with Chasing Amy, because it’s quite far outside the often painfully constricted box that is the Hollywood rom-com formula.
From director Kevin Smith, the film doesn’t hold back with both more offbeat and more forward ideas. Above all, its characters are far from the perfect role models we’re used to in the most generic rom-coms, but people with messy lives, genuine weaknesses and shortcomings, and complex outlooks on the world.
As a result, the film doesn’t tell a simple love story, but rather goes beyond and looks at how the personal histories and current situations of numerous individuals in one group can impact on one relationship.
From Ben Affleck’s personal insecurities to Joey Lauren Adams’ complicated past, and Jason Lee’s homophobic and loud-mouthed persona, the film gives a powerfully honest portrayal of real people with real issues, and brings a love story into the mix to make it all the more complicated, yet all the more moving.
And that’s what I really loved about Chasing Amy: it’s such an honest film that isn’t afraid to show the many imperfections of the real world. It is foul-mouthed, and it gives a lot of voice to characters with very questionable outlooks on the world, but it manages to balance a self-aware mockery of its more questionable characters with a genuine interest in why they’re like that, rather than simply disparaging them without just cause.
In that, there are a lot of things about Chasing Amy that would find it difficult to make it into a film nowadays, yet they all hold enormous relevance for contemporary society. From the complexities of romantic relationships to tolerance of homosexuality and much more, this film is so rich in depth and insight from beginning to end.
And alongside that, Chasing Amy is brilliant fun to watch too. Throughout, it fluctuates wildly between passionate romantic drama and laid-back stoner comedy, but it always measures its humour against the core value of its story, and never lets its more foul-mouthed or even juvenile comedy in any way cheapen what it’s trying to say.
Kevin Smith’s screenplay isn’t just powerfully personal (as the film admits so clearly), but it’s also full of charisma and brilliant laughs, bringing fantastic energy to the film that makes it just as entertaining to watch as it is genuinely enthralling.
Overall, I loved Chasing Amy. A really fantastic film that perfectly balances comedy, drama and romance throughout, it’s an insightful, moving and emotionally rich film, but doesn’t forget the importance of a great sense of humour, excellent on-screen charisma and a personal but enjoyably offbeat story. So, that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.