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How To Talk To Girls At Parties

Opening Date
24 May 2018
NC16 Some Sexual References and Coarse Language
102 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Comedy, Music, Romance
John Cameron Mitchell
Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson
It’s London (well, Croydon to be exact....), 1977, and our teenage hero Henry - known as Enn  - and his two friends John and Vic are in search of a night to remember, uninterested in the Silver Jubilee celebrations that are going on behind the privet hedges and lace-curtained windows of quiet suburbia. Desperate to be taken seriously by local punk matriarch Boadicea (Nicole Kidman) and her coterie of followers, they hear of a party not far away and decide to gatecrash. On arrival, nothing is quite as they expected. The house seems to be full of teenage students: exotic, foreign, unbelievably gorgeous. Know-it-all ladies’ man Vic identifies them as American - what else could they be? Soon, Enn is in way over his head (and heart) with the beautiful, enigmatic Zan (Elle Fanning), an outsider just like him. As Enn becomes her ambassador to a brave new world of punk, partying and music, he learns that Zan has a new world of her own to share (quite literally) and over the course of twenty four hours, the two will go on an adventure that is truly out of this world.
By Say Peng  24 May 2018
If you just want a riotous joyride through Mitchell’s uniquely psychedelic albeit shambolic directorial vision, then be sure to catch this film.
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Based on a short story of the same name by novelist Neil Gaiman, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a punk-rock sci-fi romantic comedy, starring Alex Sharp, Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman and directed by John Cameron Mitchell. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017.

His fourth film, How to Talk to Girls returns to the underground music milieu Mitchell had visited in his debut film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but this time we find ourselves in the London suburb of Croydon in the year 1977, and instead of glam rock, we have punk rock. Alex Sharp plays Enn, an aspiring boy-next-door punkster, who falls in love with the alluring and demure Zan, a repressed alien who resides in the body of Elle Fanning and who yearns for experience and freedom from her cultish alien colony.

Zan has 48 hours left before she has to “exit” Earth with her colony and, intrigued and seduced by the anarchy of punk, she demands to know how to “access the punk”. Enn is more than happy to lead the way. They visit the grand dame of a local punk club, Queen Boadicea, Nicole Kidman in a lioness steel-white mane, at her industrial lair, where, at a show later, Zan lets it rip and start rocking the stage.

Despite its visual energy and flair, eye-popping costumes and set design, and its timeless (if trite) themes of freedom and rebellion, the parts do not fit well together. That’s because the central love story between Enn and Zan digresses and meanders through subplots involving aliens undertaking an educational tour of Earth and eating their young as a form of population control. The result is that Enn and Zan are sketchily characterised and, near the end of the film, when Zan departs from Earth and Zan’s world comes crashing down, we do not share in his devastation as much as we should have.

Nevertheless, if you just want a riotous joyride through Mitchell’s uniquely psychedelic albeit shambolic directorial vision, then be sure to catch this film.
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