"Ask Me Anything" (2014)
Directed By: Allison Burnett
Written By: Allison Burnett
In Theatres: Dec 19, 2014
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Phase 4 Films
Based on the novel “Undiscovered Gyrl” by Allison Burnett, “Ask Me Anything” stars Brit Robertson. She plays Katie, a young woman who chronicles her sexual adventures in an anonymous blog that exposes her innermost desires, shames and secrets. Martin Sheen and Christian Slater also co-star. The film was also directed by Allison Burnett.
This is a surprising gem of a movie. I came across it a few months ago in a quandary over what to choose to watch on Netflix. I thought it was going to be just another rom-com of sorts or chick flick, light and easy-going. And to be fair, it does start off with what appears to be an opinionated rebellious slightly self-centred teenager worrying about first world problems. But there is so much more depth to each event that takes place and each of the characters than what initially appears. Every character is intricate and multi-layered. And honestly, I would nearly say watching it for the second time is just as good as the first time. It’s a movie you sort of need to watch twice to grasp the underlying meaning.
First, I haven’t read the book. So, any of my opinions expressed here are purely based on the film. Secondly, I’m going to write this review based on the idea that people reading this have seen the film and are open to discussing it…So just to warn those who haven’t seen it, before you continue, there will be spoilers. so continue reading at your own risk!
Despite her flaws and blatant lack of morals, Katie is actually not a force to be reckoned with. She’s extremely confident, determined and knows what she wants and goes after it. She proved this in just the first ten minutes when she challenged her step father in her ability to get a job: “You underestimate my powers, earthling”. And fair play to the girl, she found one. Enter Martin Sheen as endearing bookshop owner, Glenn. I really liked the friendship these two characters had. In my opinion working at the bookshop was the best place for Katie to find herself, both mentally and situationally. Despite being accused of the terrible things Glenn was accused of later on, it was my biggest disappointment that they should surface. While the going was good, he was a better influence for her to be around than many of the other people in her life.
Then in many other ways Katie is quite naïve with regards to the decisions she makes throughout the film; i.e. the boys/men she gets involved with. She is still young after all, in spite of what she thinks. It is these numerous relationships that are at the centre of the film. She takes for granted the people who genuinely care about her, while giving the most time to the people who do not reciprocate the height of her affections. To that end, most of the men the latter regards to are so much older than her. There are many speculations hinted at the reasons behind this as the film progresses; for one she was abused by her neighbour when she was six years old. This is alluded to throughout the film as each time she sleeps with one of her older men, an old-camera-style flashback of her childhood is shown. Almost as if trying to rewind. It is how she feels love. She uses sex to feel loved.
Brit Robertson is a fantastic actress. Really subtle and vulnerable in portraying Katie.
I like the voice-over at the end when she makes the decision to stop blogging. I think it’s very pigment and struck a chord with me. “Can I do it? Can I live without describing everything I do? Can I cancel my reality show and become a better person?” I like it, particularly with it being said over her same old-camera-style childhood flashbacks, this time with a rollercoaster which seems metaphorically fitting.
The film’s initial straight-forward feel takes a tremendous U-Turn at the end. We’d had Katie doing her voice-overs throughout the film in conjunction with her blogposts, but now all of a sudden a new and older lady is taking over. Katie hinted at the beginning of the film that she started writing her blog and changed all of their names and certain details. This very flippantly delivered piece of dialogue became a huge hint for the finale.
The “Katie” who we had come to know her as, was but a name change in her blog. Her parents, the people she introduced us to, all figments of a teenage girl’s blog life. The sudden shift in tone is so striking it’s almost chilling and listening to this girl’s (who is in fact named Amy Grantham) mother speaking our minds begin to question everything that we just watched. We were watching her blog: a slightly exaggerated and more lavish version of her life that allowed her to boost her own ego. But when reality hits (literally, trust me) we are suddenly looking at the story of a missing girl.
It would seem that this film serves as a cautionary story, most specifically aimed at young girls, about promiscuity, exposing yourself online, and drinking. It also warns people about the dangers that come with having an online life interacting with people we don’t know. I think this sudden shift is what makes this film stand out so much. Some people will likely argue that it’s too sudden. But in my opinion that is the best thing about it – that is what will keep you thinking about it long after the credits finish. I think it’s pretty well written. People will also argue that it is merely a gimmick and unnecessary to the story – but without it, what do you have? Just another chick-flick with no depth or cause for discussion. Granted, some people like that. There are many interpretations one can take from this ending – did she run away? was she killed? if so, who did it? The ending is what you make it. Either way, don't believe everything you read online!
Ask Me Anything is a very underrated movie. I think it deserves to have more people know about it. It's not really something to watch if you're looking for something light-hearted and happy. Much of what happens is not. But writing, cinematography, acting and editing – all fantastic. If I ever come across the book now, I will be checking it out!
Final Rating: 4/5 Stars
Final Rating: 4/5 Stars