Based on a true story, the phenomenon that surrounds this story is amazing. Out of the website/blog and subsequent t-shirts came an environment in which young people with addiction and mental problems found a safe place. Renee’s story struck a chord with people around the world because of its and her honesty. Though the film does have some flaws and limits it is a worthy depiction of Renee’s story.
After a traumatic event during high school Renee Yohe (Kat Dennings – from television’s 2 Broke Girls) drifts away from her two best friends, Dylan (Mark Saul – The Social Network) and Jessie (Juliana Harkavy – Dolphin Tale) and her family into a world of drug abuse, heavy drinking and cutting. She spirals downwards until one day on the run from a fellow drug user she calls Dylan for help. He and, somewhat less enthusiastically, Jessie come to get her. Dylan introduces her to his boss David (Rupert Friend – The Young Victoria, Pride & Prejudice – 2005), a recovered alcoholic.
After seeing David give a talk about his addiction and recovery Renee decides she will go into rehab. The place David wants to bring her do insists that she be five days clean and without any new cuts on her. David agrees that Renee can stay it his place for the five days.
During this five day period a friend of David’s named Jamie (Chad Michael Murray – from television’s One Tree Hill) comes to stay with him and he gets to know Renee. He is so impressed with her and her struggles that he writes a blog just as Renee enters rehab. The blog attracts a lot of attention. Jamie provides kids with similar problems as Renee a safe place to vent their feelings and lets them know they are not alone.
Admittedly I did not think much of this film when I first came across it. First of all it is part of Sony’s spiritual division, but after watching the film I have to say that the religious part is really small (a religious statue and a couple of scenes in a church), so I did not feel overwhelmed by it. Second, I wasn’t convinced that actress Kat Dennings could handle a role like this. Again, I was pleasantly surprised because whatever was “wrong” with the film it wasn’t due to her acting as she turned in a really solid performance.
The use of art, music and fantasy sequences within the film was a really clever decision by director Nathan Frankowski. It adds layers to an already deep story. There are a few rough around the edges parts and a couple of moments that you feel that it is a little too after school special feeling, but they are minimal.
-The Making of the Movie
-Music in the Movie
-On Set Blogs
-Previews of The Intruders, The Song, The Remaining, What If, When the Game Stands Tall, To Save a Life