REVIEW: ‘Say Anything’ is anything but your average teen movie

by Maria Siragusa

10 May 2018


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In Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything, John Cusack & Ione Skye are Lloyd Dobler & Diane Court, two mismatched young lovers about to head into the world and into the uncertain arms of each other. Photo courtesy of 20 Century Fox.


In less than two weeks this school year will conclude, and seniors will be moving on to the next steps of their lives. Some will be staying at home while others will be thrown into new settings with all new surroundings and people. They are about to undergo a big change and will be forced to think about their priorities and what they want to get out of the next few years.

In light of this, Say Anything is the perfect movie to watch as seniors and everyone else begins their next chapter. This iconic 1989 love story follows the lives of Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) and Diane Court (Ione Skye) as they are finishing up their senior year of high school. Lloyd isn’t your stereotypical 80’s movie high school boy — he is a genuinely good and caring guy with a pure heart. But not many people have actually taken the time to uncover the golden personality that lies under his outside shell. Lloyd is flying blindly into the future. He only knows that he doesn’t want to “sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career.”

On the other hand, “Brain” Diane is the school’s valedictorian. She’s intelligent, studious, mature, and just won a fellowship to go to England and study at a prestigious university there. She seems to have her whole life and a successful future planned out– until she meets Lloyd.

Lloyd Dobler shows her attention, love, and kindness that she had only seen before from her father James (John Mahoney). It’s obvious from the start that Diane is daddy’s little girl. When she was younger, Diane picked to live with her father after her parents got divorced which has made them each other’s best friends.

Conflict emerges when Lloyd and Diane’s relationship seems to interfere with her and her father’s relationship. Diane is forced to choose between Lloyd and her father– between her family and her affections. At first, Dad makes a valiant effort to point out some of Lloyd’s flaws. And at the same time, the Court family bond is tested as well as Diane comes to learn that her father might not be without flaws as well. As a result, she is given a lot to think about when making this difficult choice.

Director and screenwriter Cameron Crowe successfully constructed a film that was thoughtful, witty, and undeniably touching. The range of emotions displayed in Say Anything made it a film that was easy to get into. Viewers can feel Lloyd and Diane’s happiness and pain as their relationship had its ups and downs because their heartbreak is a situation that many people can relate to.

The talented cast of this film is all very sincere in their roles as they played them well. Golden Globe-nominated actor John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler portrayed a nervous, funny, and honest young man that has the perfect personality to win over Diane. It was easy to imagine him as a real person doing the absolute most for a girl. Cusack’s performance also added a humorous element to this film. Cameron Crowe put Lloyd in situations with other characters where his reactions and dialogue were truly funny. There were other subtle elements of humor scattered throughout, but Cusack really stole the show.

Diane’s lines were a bit dry at times. She is supposed to have won a highly competitive scholarship to England out of thousands of candidates in the US. But her lines almost made her seem superficial and not as intelligent as she really is. This is a girl that kept four inch thick textbooks and a model brain in her bedroom. In all other aspects, she seemed just like any other high school girl, which didn’t exactly fit her profile. If Lloyd is the boyfriend every girl would want, then Diane similarly needed to be the perfect partner for him. Diane was still a character that viewers could easily connect with, and Ione Skye made the most of what she was given through the screenplay (also penned by Crowe).

There were also a lot of different parts of Diane and Lloyd’s hometown of Seattle shown throughout the film. Cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs gave Seattle cool blue and romantic vibes. He was really able to mold the characters’ surroundings to show viewers what their lives were like — whether it be from Lloyd’s kickboxing studio to Diane and her father’s nursing home to Corey’s bedroom wallpapered with late-1980’s posters to the Gas & Sip parking lot where Lloyd’s buddies spend Saturday nights (by choice) getting drunk to the crazy keg-filled graduation party that Lloyd and Diane attended on their first date.

Overall, Say Anything is an easy movie to like. There were no real bad guys– just good people that got caught up in making tough choices in order to make the people around them happy.

Boys, take notes on the love and affection that Lloyd gave freely to Diane. He put her above everything else, proclaiming that the only job he wants is to spend as much time with her as possible. So for all of you leaving home in a few months, just remember some of the lessons that Lloyd teaches over the course of this film. It’s okay to not have a clear cut plan all the time. But once you figure out what you want to do, don’t let anyone stop you from chasing after what you want.

And remember, when you hear the ding, everything is going to be all right.

Say Anything is rated PG-13.



Maria Siragusa is a film critic for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL

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