It’s not often that I’ll sit down and write a movie review, unless I find something in the movie that strikes me. Stuck In Love, written and directed by Josh Boone, is one of the only movies I’ve seen this year that I’ll actually want to purchase when it is released to DVD.
The film revolves around well-known author Bill Borgen, played by Greg Kinnear, who is divorced and raising two children (Samantha played by Lily Collins and Rusty played by Nat Wolff) in a rustic beach house in coastal North Carolina.
It’s interesting to see that a family who has so much in common (daughter Samantha is an aspiring author as well) is actually torn apart by those similarities. In the beginning of the film, Samantha comes home from college and shares at the Thanksgiving table that her book is being published, but to her father’s surprise, it isn’t the book he was involved in.
We also learn that their mother Erica, played by Jennifer Connelly, left Bill for a new man a few years prior. Bill frequently visits Erica’s new home, watching her from the window. At first this seems bizarre, but we later learn he’s still madly in love with her and is waiting for her to come home, as she had once promised.
Son Rusty is a quiet, play by most-of-the-rules kid, who occasionally escapes reality by taking a few hits from a bong. Eventually, after his father reads his journal, Rusty is told to experience life more and enjoy his younger years.
So he does just that, and one night at a party, he finds himself punching the school’s popular jock (Patrick Schwarzenegger) in the face and running off with his crush Kate, who eventually becomes his girlfriend.
Along the way, more characters are added to the mix, such as Rusty’s girlfriend Kate (Liana Liberato) and Samantha’s boyfriend Lou (Logan Lerman).
Kate is a young teenage girl who has a history of abusing drugs and dating Rusty helps to sober her up. She does relapse at one point in the movie and is eventually sent to a rehab center, thus ending the relationship with Rusty and giving him his first heartbreak.
Lou is a quick-witted and smart young man who tried to gain the attention of Samantha at the beginning of the film but she fends him off due to the “wall” she has built. We later learn that her “wall” is a result of her parents’ divorce.
Lou doesn’t tell Samantha that his mother is very ill, and when Sam makes a surprise visit to his home, she sees him reading to his sick mother. The look on her face at that moment is heartbreaking, and a true testament to the powerful acting abilities of Lily Collins.
Their romance takes off, and despite a few hiccups along the way, they stay together for the remainder of the film.
I won’t go into further detail about the film, because the ending is the best part and I don’t want to ruin crucial moments between Bill, Erica, Samantha, and Rusty. It’s best to just watch these fascinating relationships build.
I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. It tugs at the emotional side, while having wit and drama all intertwined, just like the lives of the characters.
Stuck In Love hits theaters Friday, July 5th.
Check out my interview below with writer/director Josh Boone and Stuck In Love actor Nat Wolff discussing the characters, the casting, and what they hope audiences will pick up on in the film.