I Like Movies ★★★ 1/2 – Glasgow Film Festival 2023

I Like Movies ★★★ 1/2 – Glasgow Film Festival 2023

A charming dramedy, I Like Movies knows knows precisely how to get that goofy smile out of a cinephile who grew up in the same era, while doing more than enough for those who weren’t. A great indie film that won’t disappoint. and is full of heart.

Socially inept 17-year-old cinephile, Lawrence Kweller, gets a job at a video store to pay for his dream of attending film school at NYU, where he forms a complicated friendship with his older female manager.

If you ever went to a college or university with an art college or art course, you will have met someone like Lawrence. They do not necessarily have to have been a snob regarding film, but anything arty in general. Hell, if you worked in a cinema, you would have met more than one. That person who knew every film, and if you mentioned a film, artist or band that was not up to their narcissistic scratch, then you, my friend, will have felt their torrent. (To note, the only film in the world I am like this to is The Room; I fail to recognise your “love” of that pile of bollocks, did I just out myself as this type of person? Maybe. Ah, well.).

It’s always a bold move when our protagonist isn’t necessarily the most likeable of people, but this allows us to see Lawrence at his worst and slowly grow and become the person he needs to be before he gets to college. As we all know, going into college that head strong in your beliefs usually spells disaster for you in those opening months. However, he is young and has dreams; he just hasn’t realised there are better ways of showing your love for something than how he is going about it, making I Like Movies a home run of a coming-of-age flick. Chandler Levack has written a stellar script for her film.

Her characters are fully realised from the off and only evolve from there; Romine D’Ugo’s Alana is an excellent example of that. She could easily veer down the simple side character route, but there is enough there for the actress to bite into and for us as the audience to relate to. For anyone who has worked retail, it is not uncommon to have that cynicism in you in such a role, especially when you have employees like Lawrence to handle for hours. However, each character also has a purpose to the story, which is a testament to the care placed on the script.

Levack isn’t afraid to go a touch darker than you would expect in such a film, Alana’s backstory and the spiral of Lawrence when he realises that getting to that $90,000 target may not be as possible as he initially thought. It could have led the film down a completely different path, but Levack knows exactly what she is doing here, and with such a strong cast, you quickly realise that you are in the safest of hands. Keeping the rest of the film relatively light makes these moments more impactful.

I Like Movies is the type of film that those who loved cinema and grew up in and around the early 2000s will relate to instantly. A lot of love has been poured into this film from writer-director Chandler Levack, and you can’t help but smile at it. You don’t have to be a cinephile to enjoy I Like Movies, but it doesn’t hurt if you are, as there is something for everyone here; catch it for enjoyable viewing.

★★★ 1/2

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