- Director:Gus Van Sant
- Cast:Jane Adams, Mia Wasikowska
- Release Date:December 01, 2011
- Running time:91 minutes
- Film Worth:$17.00
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Driven by the brave performances of its two young leads, this tender and emotionally resonant film thoughtfully challenges our ideas surrounding death.
Love, death, cancer, adolescence. These are the big themes that the legendary Gus Van Sant (Elephant, Milk, Good Will Hunting) attempts to conquer in his latest film, Restless. And succeed he does in this beautiful film; directing in his usual melancholic style, Van Sant creates a tender but emotionally powerful film that deals seriously with the rarely discussed subject of death.
Struggling to deal with the sudden passing of his parents, and his own near death experience, Enoch (the awkwardly endearing Henry Hopper) isn't ready to return to school, and finds solace in attending the funerals of strangers. Alone in the world, with the exception of his friend, Hiroshi (Ryo Kase), a Japanese ghost, Enoch struggles to come to terms with his grief until he meets Annabel (the wonderful Mia Wasikowska). She teaches him about the beauty of Darwin, birds and Halloween. Gradually, Enoch begins to feel again, and they sweetly fall in love (accompanied by a selection of songs from singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens). In a sad and ironic twist, Annabel has cancer, and with only three months to live, these two delightful teenagers bravely confront all their fears and celebrate all that life offers.
The subtle performances of the two leads are what make Restless work. Newcomer Henry Hopper (yes, he's the son of the late Dennis Hopper) has a lovely vulnerability, and is beautifully complemented by the serious talent of Australian actress Mia Wasikowska. Their emotional vulnerability gives the film a fresh edge. It sounds unbearably heavy, but Restless deals with subjects that are usually shied away from, and it is truly vivifying to see a film which challenges those preconceived ideas that we may have about death. Death is a part of life, and this film takes a tender look at what it really means, and makes you appreciate life all the more.