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An ode to the simple complexities of youth, Rob Reiner’s Flipped works thanks to the sincerity with which he treats the material. I find that movies about “young love” tend to look down on the characters from an adult perspective. However, Reiner obviously respects his characters, and this respect allows him to create a beautifully charming story that truly is (cliche as this may be), “a film for the entire family.”
Set in the 1950’s, Flipped tells the story of Juli and Bryce, neighbors and friends, who find their relationship tested through the years. Flipped is the story of their friendship from the second grade forward. The film itself is a little episodic, but in telling these mini-episodes, we as an audience are able to see the bigger picture that makes each of them such a vitally important figure in the other’s life. Throughout the film, we see the same events play out from each of their own perspectives. Mentally, Juli and Bryce are seldom in the same place at the same time. And yet, their relationship feels natural. Even when fighting, it’s hard to imagine one without the other.
The only real complaint I have about the film is the use of voice-over. In order to convey each character’s perspective, the entire movie is filled with narration. I don’t mind a little bit here and there, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film use this device to this degree. After awhile I found myself getting used to it, but it was a little off-putting for awhile.
Other than that, the film completely works. This is a truly innocent and sweet film, and you can’t watch with any cynicism. Somehow, the film’s charms worked on me, and I was able to lose myself in the simplicity of the era.
Presented in 1080p High Definition, the picture looks fantastic. While this isn’t a special effects film, per se, there are effects to be found, especially in the long shots of the town. It’s all very painterly, and in these scenes, the colors really stand out. These moments are rare, but the fantastic presentation of these images on the Blu-Ray captures the emotion of these sequences beautifully.
The extras on the Blu-Ray are relatively underwhelming. The first one is called “The Difference Between a Boy and a Girl.” This is a short feature that has interviews with the young stars of the film. They seemed to have a lot of fun making the film, and this feature really captures the chemistry they share off-camera. However, it’s not that compelling in regards the actual production of the film itself.
The next extra is the “Anatomy of a Near Kiss.” This is a short, but fun, segment, showcasing the filming of a sequence in which the two young stars are forced to almost kiss. Not only is this a key moment in the film, it turns out that it was a nerve-wracking moment for the actors as well. It was cute seeing these kids forced into this awkward situation. Not that compelling as a behind-the-scenes extra, but fun just the same.
The last two extras are pretty much a waste. One involves Callan McAuliffe, the actor who played Bryce, demonstrating how to make a volcano at home. The last extra involves Madeline Carroll, the actress who played Juli, demonstrating how to properly raise chickens and hatch eggs. These features come from a sequence in the film where they have competing science fair projects involving (you guessed it) a volcano and hatching eggs. In theory, I get why these segments were included, but I can’t really picture anybody wanting to watch them. Overall, these weren’t necessary.
This is the type of movie that adults and kids can enjoy together. Most kids movies these days seem to have a darker edge to it, and that barely exists here. Bryce’s father has a bit of a dark streak to him, but this is barely an element of the film. Other than that, this is a cute, fun little movie that is really hard not to like.