How To Talk To Girls At Parties

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

How To Talk To Girls At Parties
"The energy is electric"

Let's get crazy!

Punk is junk. Yeah and... That's the point. There is no and. There's only "Whaaaa!!"

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Three teenagers on the raz, out to make mischief in Croydon, who don't know what they are doing as long as it's loud, disruptive, dangerously disorganised and two fingers up the junction, or anywhere capable of infuriating the established order.

The energy is electric. In the club, some basement in the pits of destruction where sounds blast into your brain until the ability to make a sentence dissolves into gooey gum rubble, the aural equivalent of overdosing on paint stripper, the boys bounce and squeal with the crowd.

Out in the street they hear different, almost melodic, music coming from a house near by. They investigate and talk their way into a ritualistic after party where performers are dressed in coloured vinyl and behave like members of a Californian cult.

Enn (Alex Sharp) meets Zan (Elle Fanning), a blonde innocent with whom he connects in some ethereal way. He is a virgin also, despite the punk facade, and his feelings for Zan have a purity that breaks through the cynical shell into a heartscape of undiscovered emotion.

Wow! Let's get back on board.

The title about talking to girls is either ironic or nonsensical. Co-writer/director John Cameron Mitchell risks losing his audience. Refusing to ease expectations with accessible cliches takes courage. Nicole Kidman is there as a rock gran, dressed by Ziggy Stardust, and Matt Lucas as a cult enforcer and Ruth Wilson as weird sex on legs.

Later, when the credits roll, you realise that these Americans are aliens, not that it makes a bundle of difference. It's the Queen's jubilee in London. Someone says, "White people singing like black people is racist." We are "at the fag end of the blues", rebelling against conformity.

The three mates on their pedal bike are blown away by the visitors from Planet Cult. Punk is nihilism wrapped in rage compared to these cool cats. Enn and Zan have discovered something special. Will they understand? Will you?

Crazy, or not!

Reviewed on: 11 May 2018
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How To Talk To Girls At Parties packshot
Three teenage punks gatecrash a party on the Queen's jubilee night in London and have an unexpected experience that feels out of this world

Director: John Cameron Mitchell

Writer: Philippa Goslett, John Cameron Mitchell, based on a short story by Neil Gaiman

Starring: Alex Sharp, Elle Fanning, Ethan Lawrence, Abraham Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, Matt Lucas, Joanna Scanlan, Tom Brooke, Stephen Campbell Moore

Year: 2017

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, US


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