[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B003NE4S9E][/pullquote] John Hughes owned the 1980s. Ask anyone to list their top 10 favourite films from the 1980s and I bet there’s at least one film written or directed by the king of teenage comedy-drama. It is his films that have inspired a generation of film-makers, and straight from the Hughes playbook comes Easy A. directed by Will Gluck, it is not only a film inspired by, but that also references John Hughes throughout.
Olive (Emma Stone) is a high school girl with an above-average IQ but little to no social standing. She agrees to pretend that she had sex with secretly gay student Brandon (Dan Byrd) to stop rumours of his sexuality making his life a living hell. She then realises that the reputation she gets from this story mirrors the Hester Prynne novel The Scarlet Letter and event after event unfold to make her life worse than it was before.
Just like the best John Hughes movies, Easy A is heart-warming, witty, challenging and utterly engrossing. It’s impossible not to like the charming and incredibly confident Olive as she makes a series of less than stellar decisions in her early life and narrates the action with a dry wit that is as entertaining as any voice-over you’re likely to hear. Emma Stone is just perfectly cast in the lead, and this will no doubt stand as her break-out performance.
Whilst Stone is entirely convincing in this role and is funny, intelligent with a wicked sense of humour, it is the supporting cast that give her so much material to work with. Her parents, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are inspired, with endless rounds of funny interplay, masking a subtle understanding of the workings of their daughters lives. They’re never angry, disappointed or mean, they just support her, whilst letting her make her own choices and mistakes. Then there’s the unhappily married couple played by Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow, who inject pathos and heartbreak into the film. Both couples are John Hughes-esque relationship gold.
So with a pitch-perfect cast, great soundtrack and a wonderful view on life and love, Easy A stands tall as one of the most impressive films in recent years. With a strong heart, in Emma Stone, beating the action forward with witty one-liners and a story that’s possible enough not to feel forced or high-concept.