I first discovered this Cameron Crowe romance classic one restless night, I got to bed just before 11:00pm, originally having contemplated going to sleep instead of watching Say Anything, just for the sake of “getting an early night”. Well I’m glad I didn’t do that, because life was not made for early nights- it was made for exploration. And how can I explore a film if I’m asleep?
So I stuck the disc into the player, turned off the light and discovered something new. I found the film weirdly hypnotic from start to finish, you could argue that’s simply because I’m the same age as the protagonists; but while that is a key factor in my enjoyment of it, it is not the reason why I found it so entrancing to watch.
Say Anything shows awkwardness, and unashamedly so, as people we sometimes stumble and stutter over our words, make poor choices, say shit we don’t mean and are influenced too much by external forces; something that’s often glossed over in most eighties romance films. The plot is driven by our two leading teens: introverted planner Diane (Ione Skye) and hopelessly-confused-but-happy-about-it Lloyd (John Cusack).
Diane is a careful rather than carefree character who cares for her family more than she does for herself. Skye brings a wonderful sensitivity to the role, keeping Diane coy and endearing to watch. Unlike Lloyd, Diane is a person who constantly sets herself restrictions and limitations. At the beginning of the film when Lloyd takes her out for their first “date”, before they even leave her Dad’s house Diane asks, “Is it ok if I can go home early?” A question that I’m sure nags on the mind of many from time to time, including myself, which opened up a window for me to relate and empathise with the character.
Lloyd is Diane’s dynamic opposite through and through, he makes no plans except for those in he sees in his immediate future, putting all his intensity and thought into those. Cusack is a firecracker to watch onscreen, injecting such a sense of vibrancy into the character; all of which contributed to the strong identity that is Lloyd Dobler.
The imagery throughout the film was poignant and sensitive, soft rain, a boombox and the sounds of Peter Gabriel is a real treat for the eyes and ears. The acting remains stripped back and sublime. Crowe’s writing keeps the whole film ingrained in human emotion and the tender exploration of it; the final scene remaining one of the most touching pieces of film I’ve ever watched.
So if you’re ever staring up at the ceiling, or out of a rainy window and you want to spend some time watching something brilliant, Say Anything is waiting.