Chasing Amy (1997) – Film Review

Chasing Amy Film PosterChasing Amy

Starring Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell

Directed and written by Kevin Smith

IMDB Rating: 7.4

A romantic comedy that had much more weight than I expected. Chasing Amy is a pretty unique story that seems to have a lot to teach us.

Chasing Amy follows Holden McNeil (Affleck), a comic book writer alongside his long-term best friend Banky (Lee). At a comic book convention, close friend Hooper (Ewell) introduces them to Alyssa (Adams), a fellow comic book writer. Holden quickly falls for her, only finding out when it’s too late that she’s a lesbian. Alyssa feels for Holden in a way she hasn’t ever felt for a man before, while Holden is stuck on the fantasy of having a relationship with her, which puts strain on his friendship with Banky.

Chasing Amy Story

This is the actual story of ‘Chasing Amy’ that is told near the end of the film. It also highlights the length of some of the dialogue!

First of all, this was a really interesting and believable story. The characters were smart and well-developed, and the film seemed to follow a natural and true pattern as if it was a real story, not some Hollywood romance. Also, this is a much heavier film than I had anticipated. I went into this expecting a late-night comedy romance, with the emphasis on comedy. I mean, falling for a lesbian has to be the plot for a comedy, surely? However, Chasing Amy quickly gets rid of the comedy aspect, with Smith eager to tell a moral story about love and it not being as simple as A to B. I’m sure Kevin Smith is really proud of the script he’s written here, and from listening to it you can tell he’s spent a lot of time and effort on it. I must say though that, for me, there was way too many moments where the characters would ramble on for ages, delivering a deep and meaningful speech about sex or relationships. I’m sure it’s all really interesting stuff, but after a while I ended up zoning out because they were just going on and on! It’s the type of speeches that if they were written down you would love to read them, but it doesn’t work as well on film as it does on paper. Past the overly long dialogue, the rest of the conversations were on point, and there was properly funny moments in this film, albeit mostly early on.

If you’re wondering, the name ‘Chasing Amy’ comes from a story the character Holden is told near the end of the film (right), and also the comic book he writes at the end, both called Chasing Amy.

The acting in this film is pretty good. There’s nobody here that you can say hasn’t done well, although by the same token there’s no-one who has set the world alight. Joey Lauren Adams is the stand-out performer in Chasing Amy, delivering an exciting performance as the conflicted Alyssa and out of the main three, I think she delivered the big speeches they were all given the best, giving it more emphasis and emotion than the two male co-stars could. That being said, both Affleck and Jason Lee were solid in this film, delivering true and emotive performances, while also being quite funny between themselves when required.

The directing in this film by Kevin Smith was really good! There is some really good and really memorable scenes in this film, and that is mostly down to the direction and camera work by Smith. The darts scene early on was a particular highlight, a really simple scene that he put a clever angle on, creating a much better atmosphere than if he just swapped from person to person as the conversation went on, like most would have done without even thinking.

Overall, this has left more of a mark on me than I expected. It went from being a comedy to the type of film that makes you ask yourself questions about relationships. I think that’s a good thing, but it certainly caught me off guard, and I’m sure if I watched it a second time it would have an even bigger impact on me. Don’t watch this if you’re looking for laughs, but if you’re a fan of romantic films then this has to be one of the most unique and effective ones I’ve seen in a long while.

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