I must confess that when I first heard the plot of this movie, I was skeptical. A movie about the love story of two junior high kids? Can you say, immature and unbelievable? However, set in the 1960s, it proves to be cinematic gold. It’s charming, witty, heartwarming, and yes, completely believable.
It’s love at first sight for Juli Baker when she sets eyes on Bryce Loski in the second grade. She stares into his captivating brown eyes and is lost. Her attraction is purely physical, and we see it develop as the movie progresses, when she realizes that some people “more than the sum of their parts” and others are less.
Bryce Loski, on the other hand, cannot bear to even be around Juli; he finds her weird and annoying. When he learns of the value of looking beyond someone’s surface, however, he falls in love.
My favorite thing about this movie is the perspective. Rather than telling it from one character’s point of view, it switches – hence the name, Flipped. (It’s also Flipped because of the way feelings shift around, but I digress.) The interesting part of this changing perspective, though, is it does the scenes over again, so the viewer watches everything from both Juli and Bryce’s point of view. Now, this may seem like it could get old, repetitive and boring, but in fact it’s none of the above. The film maker’s did this with such care and precision that not too many lines are physically repeated, it’s the emotions and thoughts of the characters that are important.
This is how we discover that while Bryce runs away from Juli at every opportunity, she sees this as shyness, and that he’s just as interested in her as she is in him. Later, the perspective shift is used to explain the motivations behind the characters’ behavior, and for quite a few “awwww” moments when the romance starts to get very sweet.
See, while Juli and Bryce are only in the seventh grade, their romance is treated as young love, with all the awkwardness and unsureness that comes with it. It never seems out of place, or that they’re just not old enough to feel the way they do, because it’s not overdone.
A surprisingly wonderful addition to the cast is Bryce’s grandfather, who befriends Juli and sings her praises to Bryce at every turn. He gets some beautiful lines, one of my favorites is “Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss; but every once in a while, you find someone who’s iridescent, and once you do, nothing will ever compare.”
The whole movie is like that. It’s refreshingly new, despite being set 50 years ago, and incredibly sweet, poignant and thought-provoking. It captures life’s little quirks perfectly.
One issue that I had with the movie is that the ending seemed very sudden. It doesn’t wrap up any of the smaller story lines, only the main one. I was left wondering what had happened to the problems of the other characters.
Despite that, however, I would recommend it to anyone. It’s a true classic, that I could watch over and over again.