Restless: Live Like You Were Dying

by Ethan Alter September 16, 2011 12:27 pm
<i>Restless</i>: Live Like You Were Dying

Since striking box-office gold with 1998's Good Will Hunting, Gus Van Sant has split his time between the kinds of small-scale indie experiments that launched his career (think titles like My Own Private Idaho, Gerry and Paranoid Park) and more mainstream fare pitched at a wide audience (Finding Forrester, Milk). His latest film, Restless, is a well-meaning, but wildly uneven attempt to offer moviegoers the best of both worlds. Written by novice screenwriter Jason Lew after apparent marathon viewings of Hal Ashby's 1971 classic Harold & Maude, the narrative follows the romance that blossoms between a pair of death-obsessed teenagers, Enoch (Henry Hopper, son of the recently deceased Dennis) and Annabel (Mia Wasikowska). Both of them have good reason to be fascinated by the great beyond: Enoch's parents were killed in a car crash that almost claimed his life as well. Annabel, meanwhile, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and, in the best case scenario, will only be walking and talking for three more months. In other words, this isn't the most convenient time for her to strike up a new relationship. Viewed another way though, maybe the timing is just right.

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