About Alex – The millenial generation’s “The Big Chill”
Written and directed by: Jesse Zwick
A group of college friends are brought together after the attempted suicide of their friend Alex (Ritter). Once under the same roof, they begin catching up and also start to realize why they have drifted apart. There are sexual tensions, funny recollections, and an underlying disappointment that each of them feels with life since graduating college. They each treat Alex’s situation differently. Sarah (Plaza) coddles him by constantly asking if he needs anything and if he is feeling okay. Josh (Greenfield) takes the tough love approach, telling the others they shouldn’t tip toe around how selfish Alex’s actions were. Ben (Parker) and Siri (Grace) don’t know what to say or how to act. This has to do with both the fact that they are going through a relationship crisis, and that they feel heavy guilt over being the ones who not only live closest to Alex but are also closest to him as people. Isaac (Minghella) spends the weekend torn between his youthful love interest (Levy) and the feelings he harbors for Sarah. All of these things come boiling to the surface, and each one of the friends must deal with his or her issues
The story of friends reuniting after a tragic event is not a new thing to movie goers. Most notably 1983s “The Big Chill” looked at the underlying themes of friendships transitioning form youth to adulthood. “About Alex” even pays tribute to the Lawrence Kasdan film in multiple scenes. Zwick’s film succeeds though through the amazing talent of it’s cast and the strength of it’s script. Zwick wrote a story and created characters that seem very honest. As a viewer, I cared about the people I was watching on screen. It is always an impressive accomplishment when a director can take familiar themes and put a refreshing and effective spin on them. Zwick does so and as a result his cast reward him with strong, balanced performances across the board.
“About Alex” will tug at heart strings, and maybe even cause you to examine your own relationships with the people around you. It is a film well worth seeing. I look forward to seeing where Mr. Zwick goes from here.