In 2011, I featured a young adult contemporary novel called Undiscovered Gyrl by author Allison Burnett on my blog’s Spotlight Week. I did a review of the book and even interviewed the author. Little did I know that the characters I’d read (and worried) about would come to life on the silver screen three years later.
Author/screenwriter Allison Burnett remembered the review I wrote of UNDISCOVERED GYRL and offered me a chance to view the movie two weeks before it was set to air in theaters. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.
To get the taste of what the movie is all about, watch the film trailer below:
ASK ME ANYTHING was adapted from the book UNDISCOVERED GYRL by Allison Burnett. When I heard there was going to be a movie version, I was a bit worried that the voice and language which I loved about the book would not translate to the big screen.
Thankfully, I was wrong. The movie stays true to the book—from the complex characters, right down to the spelling errors made by Katie while she was blogging drunk. It helped that the film’s screenwriter and director also happens to be the book’s author, Allison Burnett.
18 year-old Katie Kampenfelt blogs about her life just after graduating from high school. Using an online persona, she shares her personal experiences with anonymous readers. She describes encounters with her alcoholic father, oblivious mother, needy boyfriend, and the older men whom she just can’t seem to stay away from –in particular, a college film professor (Justin Long), and married father (Christian Slater), who happens to be her boss (she’s the nanny for his baby).
In the novel, the main character’s voice—her unique way of viewing the world and responding to it—dominated every scene, and I was worried that this wouldn’t be portrayed accurately in the film. Katie Kampenfelt is a perceptive and intelligent soul trapped inside a frustrating cycle of self-abuse and it would take an amazing actress to pull off the role. The film delivers on this end, thanks to the incredible performance of Britt Robertson.
Britt ‘s portrayal of Katie was at once captivating and heart-breaking. I found myself simultaneously loving and hating her, just as I did when I read the book. And it is this honest, realistic performance that made me hate the way the story ended (all over again—since I felt the same way when I read the book).
Just as with the book, the film ends with a complete twist–something most viewers won’t see coming. The reason I hated the ending was because I’d gotten so attached to, and invested in the main character, that a future without her felt heavy and bleak. Though I wish the film had ended with a more hopeful tone, I understand that the story is meant to be a cautionary tale. As a story, ASK ME ANYTHING is an excellent trauma narrative, offering viewers a glimpse into the life and psyche of a young, deeply troubled woman, who is lost, lonely and utterly alone in her struggles to find her place in the scheme of things.
Other outstanding cast members include Robert Patrick, who plays Katie’s alcoholic, washed-out sports-writer father, and Martin Sheen, a bookstore owner with a dark past, and Katie’s first employer.
Another notable thing about the film is its stellar soundtrack. Running with the book’s theme, it features many “undiscovered” female singer-songwriters, who are all around the same age as main character Katie Kampenfelt. The soundtrack won “Best Music” at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival and you can hear some of the songs here. By featuring these talented, undiscovered girls, the soundtrack offers a more hopeful alternative to the film’s rather sad ending.
The movie opens TOMORROW (FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19th, 2014) in selected theaters. You may also stream it on Amazon Instant, ITunes, Xbox and other Video On Demand platforms.
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