Written for RAF News November 2014
Say When follows Megan (Keira Knightley) a 28 year-old suffering from a severe lack of motivation who realises that she is floating through life with the same friends from prom, the same high-school sweetheart (Mark Webber) and an unused college degree. All growing up around her and settling down, Megan has to find what she wants from life and where she belongs – landing strangely enough in a group of 16 year-old kids.
At her friend’s wedding, shortly following their first dance (a cringe-worthy piece of choreography set to some soft Daniel Bedingfield) Megan is proposed to herself. Feeling the pressure she makes her excuses and leaves the party, bumping into a group of teenagers who need someone to buy them alcohol, fronted by the strangely confident and level-headed Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz).
As strange as it would seem to have an adult female bonding with kids over skateboards and some illegally bought beers, the chemistry of these two actors make the interaction seem almost believable, or at least they make the believability irrelevant. Still fearing the decisions she has to make back home, Megan tells her now fiancé that she wants to take a week at a self-development centre before they elope, when in actual fact she crashes at Annika’s house. This would be simpler if it weren’t for Annika’s probing father, played by Sam Rockwell with a charm that dovetails perfectly with the strong female cast. While supporting cast Ellie Kemper and Kaitlyn Dever carry the majority of laughs through the film with their respective touches of prudishness and self-assurance.
Director Lynn Shelton has stressed the importance of believability in her films, and though Say When features some highly unlikely turns, which lead to a string of unlikely events, the central performances keep it grounded and charming.