The art of the indie try
There are essentially three ways to lure the (male) teen into the cinema. First, scare him. That would be Fright Night (starts Oct 6). Second, give him toys, action and adventure:Transformers. Third, provide him with an opportunity to take out a date.
There’s a fourth strategy to lure teens (male and female) away from their apps and into the theaters, with or without a date, and that is the indie drama. The important thing here is to find a goofy-looking protagonist (check on both Freddie Highmore), wise beyond his years due to having been traumatized. In Getting By the trauma is only that standard dysfunctional upper-crust NYC family (think Twelve or Igby Goes Down).
The uniqueness of the teenaged protagonist is mostly demonstrated by the weird way he talks; in Getting By it’s at least acknowledged as being weird.
The way in which young George finally gets his act together, however, points at the real audience for this and many other teen films of its kind – the parents. Getting By shows parents as adults who generally only exist on the fringes of teen life. But if you’re full of parental worry about how you may have failed those kids you hardly ever see anymore, relax. They’ll be all right.
The Art of Getting By | Directed by Gavin Wiesen (USA 2011), with Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts. Starts September 29