We Love… 2010: ‘Easy A’

We Love... 2010
Illustration by Adeline Pericart

We start 2010 by looking back at a few of our favourite films of 2010. Throughout January we’ll be adding to the list. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Easy A

Peter White

When it came to picking my best film of the year I was surprised by just how few really stood out as memorable. There has been plenty which I enjoyed but when I tried to think of films which would live on in the memory come the new year that list quickly became a shadow of its former self. The standout had to be a certain film within a film but I’ve already drooled over that in my review so that leaves me space to muse over my ‘wow I didn’t see that film of my own free will but golly I enjoyed it a whole heck of a bunch’ award winner: Easy A.

Easy A is loosely based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, which our charming teen heroine is studying in school. After some unsavoury rumours spread through her school Olive (Emma Stone) finds herself labelled an adulteress, but unlike Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne she enjoys the initial attention and wears her scarlet ‘A’ atop her breast with pride. More akin to Hester’s dilemma, despite Easy A’s mature script and stellar cast is unfairly labelled with the much maligned ‘teen movie’ tag. While that’s fine at first and garners a particular audience for the film upon release, this tag can damage a film’s long-term potential and isolate it from a much wider audience, which Easy A deserves.

Once in a while films do manage to overcome the teen genre to find a wider audience. This is usually as a result of said audience eating too much food and not possessing the energy to change channel during the opening minutes, perhaps supported by a stubborn (but in this case sensible) teenager, and subsequently being glad they didn’t. 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls spring to mind as previously outstanding examples of the genre. These films excel for the same reason that Pixar animation excels – because the writers make them for themselves instead of aiming them at a target audience which they assume is dumber than they are.

I find that the most reliable means to separate the sublime from the ridiculous teen movies is how well the adult roles are written. In Easy A some of the most inspired dialogue is gifted to Olive’s parents (take a bow, Stanley Tucci) and teacher, Thomas Haden Church. That’s not to say that they’re favoured by the material, wit is littered all around town much like Olive’s reputation.

In a year when the most elaborate ideas of fantasy and escapism were to be found in Leinster House instead of your local picture house, Easy A stands out as the year’s most pleasant surprise. An A for ambition in a class of underachievers.

Peter White

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