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Movie Review: Flipped

August 27, 2010

Flipped – A Warner Bros. Release

http://flipped-movie.warnerbros.com/

Release Date: August 6th limited, August 27, 2010 wide

Rated PG

Running time: 90 minutes

Rob Reiner (dir.)

Rob Reiner (screenwriter)

Andrew Scheinman (screenwriter)

Wendelin Van Draanen (novel)

Marc Shaiman (music)

Madeline Carroll as Juli Baker

Callan McAuliffe as Bryce Loski

Rebecca De Mornay as Patsy Loski

Anthony Edwards as Steven Loski

John Mahoney as Chet Duncan

Penelope Ann Miller as Trina Baker

Aidan Quinn as Richard Baker

Morgan Lily as Young Juli

Ryan Ketzner as Young Bryce

FD-10257r: (L-r) CALLAN McAULIFFE as Bryce Loski and MADELINE CARROLL as Juli Baker in Castle Rock Entertainment’s coming-of-age romantic comedy “FLIPPED,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Photo by Ben Glass

© 2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Our reviews below:

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Flipped Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Rob Reiner’s Flipped is a movie that takes us back to what life is like at 13.  This is a wonderful throwback to an age we’ve all been, even if it takes place in an era we haven’t all experienced.  Starting in 1957 when our young hero and heroine are in the 2nd grade, the dual-narrative quickly brings us to 1963.  At seven, Bryce Loski (Ryan Ketzner) was caught by the eye of the girl across the street, Juli Baker (Morgan Lily), and what followed were 6 years of strategic avoidance for Bryce, and for Juli, 6 years of awaiting her first kiss.  But at 13, Juli (Madeline Carroll) starts to reevaluate her feelings for Bryce (Callan McAuliffe), while he starts to develop feelings for her.

Their feelings have flipped, but so have their families and the social expectations of the ever-changing times.  Bryce’s family is ready to let go of the simplicity of the 1950’s, and move onto the more modern 1960’s.  Bryce’s grandfather Chet (John Mahoney) is the first one from the family to reach out to Juli as she reminds him of his late wife.  Juli’s family doesn’t have much money, as any extra is sent to help care for her disabled uncle, Daniel (Kevin Weisman).  In one of the most touching sequences, Juli visits him for the first time, accepting him as human despite his flaws.

This simple, semi-romance is handled with believability and charm, making us all remember what it was like at 13.  Reiner has captured perfectly the way that Juli could be both weird and appealing to a boy, and how Bryce could seem both arrogant and dreamy to a girl.  Through voice over narration we come to understand their complex feelings for each other, all leading up to one of the sweetest on-screen displays of affection we’ll likely see all year.  With Juli constantly awaiting her first kiss, and Bryce thinking of new ways to strategically avoid her, it thankfully isn’t plagued by any sort of sexual tension, unlike what is apparent in most young romances these days.  It’s refreshing to see a romance with an appealing innocence.

Both in the way that it perfectly captures the coming of age of these characters, as well as in it’s views of a sometimes denied relationship from both sexes, there are shades here of Reiner’s own classics like Stand By Me and When Harry Met Sally.   The late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s are lovingly recreated with the help of costumes and a wonderful soundtrack of classic pop music.  One of the nicest surprises of the summer, this film will make you feel good.

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Flipped Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Juli Baker was delighted the day Bryce Loski moved across the street from her – from the moment they met, there was just ‘something about his eyes.’  Bryce, on the other hand, was less than thrilled.  Now, six years later in 1963, they are in middle school.  Juli’s still trying to get Bryce interested while he tries to ignore her – until, something inside him flips…

Told from both perspectives (sometimes repeating parts of scenes from different points of view) makes for interesting storytelling.  I’d read the book ‘Flipped’ by Wendelin Van Draanen a while back and it also flips back and forth like this from chapter to chapter.  While this kind of thing is easy to read in a book, I wasn’t sure how it would play out on-screen.  I was pleased to find that it was used just sparingly enough in the film version to not get annoying but work brilliantly as a storytelling device.

What worked so well about Flipped, is how it captured the feel of being 12 – no matter what era you were that age in.  I both believed the characters and connected with who they were.  I think it will be enjoyed by a slightly older audience – possibly either those who grew up in the 50’s/60’s or those younger who just want an innocent romance.  This is just a genuinely sweet and clean movie – which is hard to find nowadays.  The film is not for young kids, although some certainly around 12/13 (the approximate age of the two leads) will be mature enough to really enjoy it.

Simply put, this is a nice movie to end the summer with.  It’s a very pretty film to look at cinematically and the music is nice too.  All of the acting is very good as well, particularly from the two young lead actors.  I recommend seeing it before back to school starts.

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Flipped Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Based on the children’s book by Wendelin Van Draanen, Flipped tells a believable story about first love.  Beginning in 1957, Julianna Baker notices a cute little boy new to the neighbourhood.  The boy, Bryce, will do everything in his power to avoid Juli, the girl who won’t leave him alone.

Fast forward to 1963.  Juli, now 13, still has a crush on Bryce, which now bugs him even more.  Bryce just can’t understand Juli.  Why does Juli live in a run down house?  And why is Juli obsessed with climbing an old sycamore tree?

One day, the tree gets cut down, which breaks Juli’s heart.  Her vain efforts to save the tree land Juli on the front page of the local newspaper.  Bryce always thought the tree was ugly, until his grandfather shows him the article about the tree.  After Bryce reads it, and gets to know Juli better, he starts to have feelings for her.  But as Juli gets to know Bryce, she quickly loses interest in him.

Flipped is a well-rounded film, which even touches on what it was like to have a relative with a developmental delay, before such exceptionalities were openly embraced.  (The dated term “mental retardation” is used historically in this film.)  Fifty years ago, such people were hidden away in institutions, which hindered their full potential.

Flipped is very close to the original book.  However, screenwriter Rob Reiner made one change which I found to be an improvement.  This was to change the time period of the book, which takes place in the early 21st century, to the more innocent early 1960’s.  The film’s soundtrack completes the mood of the era, with several classic songs.

What I really liked about Flipped is that it never feels like a kids movie.  The child actors give a believable performance, as does the whole cast.  Nowhere is there any slapstick or crude jokes.  Flipped has a really classic feel that will appeal to baby boomers and seniors as well as teens.  Go see this one.

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Flipped Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Flipped is a charming story of two young teens and their on-again, off-again feelings for each other from when they first meet in 1957 at age 7 to 1963 in 7th grade.

Not only do their feelings for each other flip back and forth the entire story is told from alternating points of view.  Juli (Madeline Carroll) tells her version of events involving Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) then the screen literally flips and the audience hears and sees Bryce’s version of the same events.  The alternating narrative style worked well in the original book and it works really nicely in the movie.  One change writer/director Rob Reiner made from the book was to set the movie in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s as opposed to the 1990’s.  The earlier era gives the whole movie a more innocent feel and charm.  There is a real sense of nostalgia about the blossoming of a teenage crush.

The young actors who play Juli and Bryce did a really nice job bringing likability and believability to their characters.  I really liked Juli.  With her high-spirited personality, love of nature and her hard work to help her family, Juli is a good role model for young girls.  There is a fair degree of family drama in the story to keep it from being a sappy teen rom-com.  The storyline with Juli’s disabled uncle is touching.  Bryce’s family also has its own challenges.  The interaction within each family and between the two families feels real and sincere.

Overall Flipped has enough going in the storyline to keep it interesting.  The look and sound of the early sixties is done right and adds to the innocence of two young teens trying to figure out who they are and what they might mean to each other.  Flipped is a nice change of pace.

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Flipped Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

The title Flipped has a double meaning, referring both to head over heels attraction and the shift back and forth between first person narration of the two lead characters.  We first see them at seven years of age when Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) moves into the suburban neighbourhood and Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) introduces herself. They also find each other in the same second grade class.  After looking into his eyes she has feelings for him,  which just embarrasses him and makes him the butt of jokes at school. The rest of the story occurs six years later in junior high freshman year.  Bryce tries unsuccessfully to shake Juli off by going out with another girl.  Juli attracts media attention by protesting the destruction of her favourite sycamore tree. She is disappointed that nobody, not even Bryce, supported her, but Bryce’s grandfather Chet (John Mahoney), living with his family since his wife died, is impressed by Juli’s determination, reminding him of his own lost wife, and he helps her fix up her front yard. Juli has also been busy hatching eggs at the school science fair which grew into backyard chickens bringing in egg money for the family, helping her father (Aidan Quinn) support his retarded (sic) brother Daniel (Kevin Weisman) in a private institution.  Bryce’s father (Anthony Edwards) has a negative attitude about everything, and won’t accept eggs that might be infected with salmonella.  Bryce still feels too awkward to explain this to Juli, so he has been accepting the eggs and quietly discarding them, until she finds out.  Now she is really mad at him, while his feelings have finally started to go the other way.  His mother (Rebecca De Mornay) decides to finally invite her mother (Penelope Ann Miller) to a dinner party to get to know them better, leading to an awkward scene of forced civility.  What happens next leads to a hopeful and touching conclusion.

Based on a novel by Wendelin Van Draanen, director Rob Reiner has wisely moved the period of Flipped back to the years 1957 to 1963 (coinciding with the complete run of the Leave it To Beaver series). The nostalgia (be it real (in my case) or vicarious) for this period of comfortable family values (at least for middle class white kids) allows for great charm, free from the sexual tension and other issues that would follow.  It is refreshing that the kids are age appropriate, rather than precocious as in most films. The more self-assured girl is typically more mature by a couple of years than the awkward boy.  The two leads are perfect with a strong supporting cast. The alternating narrative structure really works here. The musical score has a good selection of classic rock tunes, including a nice bit of doo-wop from Juli’s older brothers.  Set design, wardrobe (from when people dressed up for dinner), and other period details are well reproduced.  One thing unworthy of nostalgia is the warehousing until the 1970s of so-called retarded people in what were originally called “asylums for idiots”. The scene with Uncle Daniel is most touching, from his complete joy meeting Juli for the first time to his panic attack in the malt shop when his ice cream falls.

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Consensus: Flipped will be enjoyed by a wide audience looking for a sweet and innocent young romance.  Try to catch this one in theatres before the summer ends – it’s worth it. ***1/2 (Out of 4)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Grecia Cisneros permalink
    December 10, 2010 4:06 pm

    I Loved The Book I Wanna See The Movie Really Bad

    Like

    • December 10, 2010 9:40 pm

      They’re both quite good, actually. The DVD came out on November 23rd – I hope you get a chance to check it out.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

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