How To Talk To Girls At Parties

Boy is this title misleading! It sounds like it belongs to the self-help genre, but if you’ve been standing awkwardly around the dip, wondering how to break the ice, calculating to the minute when it’s no longer rude to leave, well, I hate to tell you this, but this movie isn’t going to change your life.

It’s based on a short story by Neil Gaiman, which means I went in curious as hell. And director John Cameron Mitchell is an interesting guy, with some visually stunning work tucked into his artist fanny pack. But here’s the deal: Enn (Alex Sharp) is a young punk. That’s not my inner grumpy old man coming out, he’s a teenager in 1977 who thinks punk rock music is going to save his soul. He and his punk friends go out one night in the London suburb of Croydon and stumble upon a party that seems too good to be true: a sex den of beautiful exchange students.

MV5BNTA3ZGY0ZjctZGVjOC00MDdmLTg0NjctOGE4MGE1YTViYjE0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc5OTMwOTQ@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Enn is immediately taken with Zan (Elle Fanning) and his immediate concern is about how to successfully extract her from what appears to be a sexy suicide cult. But that notion is further complicated as it becomes obvious she’s from much further away than America. Zan is an alien. Zan is an alien? It seems that Zan is an alien, an alien who is  disenchanted with her fellow travelers and would really like to hang out with her new teenage friends, experiencing their fascinating culture.

DJ James Murphy developed a new kind of EDM for this movie, one he’s described as “extraterrestrial dance music,” that still feels like a cousin to the Sex Pistols.  So you can imagine that John Cameron Mitchell has created a really cool vibe for this movie, and when it works, it’s a lot of fun. But it may have been a little ambitious to stage a punk rebellion musical. Okay, a lot ambitious. But that’s one of the move lovable things about it. Sure it’s unhinged, it’s messy, it’s campy, it’s weird. It’s a punk rock Romeo & Juliet. It mixes metaphors. It mixes genres. It’s not always successful but it takes big risks and paints with wild abandon. Plus, there’s Nicole Kidman looking like David Bowie in Labyrinth, which nearly stopped my heart. Maybe this movie is not for you. But I hope it finds its audience of weirdos. Weirdos gonna weird.

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15 thoughts on “How To Talk To Girls At Parties

  1. reocochran

    I like the quirky films best, sometimes! Thanks for introducing this one and it sounds like you cannot get bored since the plotline is outta this world. Haha, snort!
    I just saw “Oceans Eight” last night and there was a row of rather drunk females which amused my grown son. It was fun, maybe predictable but gorgeous in it’s dresses, gowns and setting. The Met alone had my eyes roaming and studying. Favorite character was Helen Bonham Carter. She was hilarious in the scene she is trying to entice Anne Hathway’s character by being aloof. The scene was completely original. The team (“ringleaders”) of Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett did a fine job, too. Not a full moment. 🎆✨

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  2. Christopher

    Mitchell really does pick some interesting projects and I’m curious about whether he did anything behind the scenes on this one. When he directed Shortbus not only was the on-camera sex real but, as I recall, all the actors were required to do something they’d never done before. And he loves weird mixes, so when you say this is a Mitchell-Gaiman matchup my first reaction is, FINALLY.

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  3. indiefan20

    I like Neil Gaiman but the trailer for this movie didn’t immediately grab my attention that much. I’ll probably watch it eventually, but it’s not something that’s on the top of my list. Great review! 🙂

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  4. J.

    I’ll be honest, I started reading this thinking “mnah”, but then you mentioned aliens and I was like “oh aye?”. I’ll be on the lookout for this one.

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