As I walked into the Holiday Village Cinema and showed my press pass, the lady at the door asked “Are you here for The First Time?” It can be taken in two ways, and the answers are yes and kind of.
I’ve reviewed films in the past for Sundance in past years, but I was always on the SLC/Ogden-showing beat. And this was a great film to start with at the heart of the fest in Park City.
It’s not one of the best of the fest for 2012 (the competition was amazing this year), but it’s still one of the best teen movies since Can’t Hardly Wait. If you get the chance to see Jonathan Kasdan’s The First Time, take the initiative.
The film follows teens Dave Hodgman (Dylan O’Brien of MTV’s Teen Wolf) and Aubrey Miller (Brittany Robertson of the CW’s Life Unexpected) as they fall in love for “the first time” over a weekend after meeting at a party on a Friday night.
The casting was awesome. Don’t be surprised if you hear names from the supporting cast again soon:
Victoria Justice plays Jane, the hot girl that all the guys including Dave crush on; Craig Roberts and LaMarcus Tinker play Simon and Big Corporation, Dave’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the film; James Frecheville plays Ronny, Aubrey’s cool, alternative boyfriend, who’s also an asshole.
Two parts of this movie really stood out: 1. The dialogue. 2. Location, location, location.
1. The script was written to fit the current teen nuances, but witty enough to make long conversation scenes seem fleeting. Lines like Aubrey’s “I want to meet a man the old fashion way… in a bar.” And Dave’s “I’m never going to be her dude, am I?” were clever, drove the plot and showed us the emotional side of the characters.
2. In a recent youtube clip, Kasdan mentioned this film takes place when “real high school life” happens—over the weekend. But I'd add to that all of the importat scenes also happens where real high school life drama happens—just outside the party in the bedroom upstairs, the patio out back, the alley behind the house or on the long walk home.
Some parts are a bit cheesy, like Dave asking Aubrey to slow dance in the alley. Would a teen even think, or desire, to do that? And the typical stoner kids are present as well, but these kids leave their mark on the film more than your everyday movie stoner (not including Spicoli) for a very good reason that will hit home for a lot of viewers.