Listening to: Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey
Set in the summer of 1987, this is a wistful and endearing take on young romance set against the background of minimum wage summer jobs at the themepark of the title. The story centres around James, forced to work at the park after his summer plans to tour europe fall through.
At the park he meets a usual suspects crowd of coworkers, all with their own stories to tell. Eventually he notices park veteran Em, and what follows is a fairly tried and true tale of boy meets girl, they fall in love, fall out of love, then find each other again. Its a bit more complicated than that, but I don't want to rehash the entire plot.
The story may be familiar, but it is very well realised. Although set in real time, the movie evokes a feeling of events being recalled years later. It certainly got me thinking of times and relationships past, of the things that worked out, and the ones that all ended in tears, of the mistakes and misunderstandings, and the things you would change if you could. The cast realises the awkward teenage experience of thinking you have everything sorted, then finding out you don't really well. There are some great and exactly right touching moments.
Comparison's to the legendary 70's teenager epic Dazed and Confused are perhaps inevitable, but they are very different movies in scope and concept, although neither are particularly tied to their chronological setting; they both could be set anytime in the last 30 years.
It's not a perfect film. There are a couple of potentially significant but blink and you'll miss it underdeveloped plot and character arcs, and the ending is a little contrived and maybe unrealistic.
Overall though its a great little quiet achievement of a movie and I really enjoyed it. And the soundtrack is damn near perfect.
Other takes from viewing buddies Rich and NotKate here and here