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The Myth of the American Sleepover

Movie Details

The Myth of the American Sleepover
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 2011-07-22 NY 2011-07-29 LA
  • Running Time: 93 min.
  • Director: David Robert Mitchell
  • Cast: Claire Sloma, Marlon Morton, Amanda Bauer, Brett Jacobsen, Jade Ramsey, Nikita Ramsey
  • Writer: David Robert Mitchell
  • Distributor: IFC Films
  • Official Site: The Myth of the American Sleepover Official Site

An earnest, ethereal riff on the one-night-in-a-high-school-caste-system-interwoven-narrative-ensemble-piece, writer/director David Robert Mitchell's feature debut spans the last night of summer in a cloistered Michigan suburb. High-schoolers Maggie (Claire Sloma, a pierced punkette) and Beth (Annette DeNoyer, perfectly just-pubescent nerdy) bike between a tame sleepover and a cool-kid kegger; new girl Claudia (Amanda Bauer) swiftly finds herself tangoing with the local mean girls; incoming freshman Rob (Marlon Morton) quasi-stalks a blond mystery girl; and Scott (Brett Jacobsen), home from college, pursues a pair of just-graduated twins (Jade and Nikita Ramsey). When it comes to the atmospherics of that fertile transition point between school years, this pre-cell-phone period piece -- hazily innocent even as it's sketching out the odder, darker corners of adolescent desire -- gets a lot right. The constant presence of music -- think Dazed and Confused, with the Magnetic Fields swapped in for Foghat -- nails both the teenage fantasy of living life to a personal soundtrack, and a high-schooler's heightened hunger to experience everything all at once. An editor by trade, Mitchell shows more talent for defining situation and feeling via cross-cut gazes than he does through dialogue, which here is often conspicuously precise. But of the uneven young non-actor performers, Sloma is always interesting to watch: She's even almost credible when tasked with delivering the film's thesis in the form of a lesson learned.

Karina Longworth

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