ASK ME ANYTHING
US, 2014, 100 minutes, Colour.
Britt Robertson, Christian Slater, Justin Long, Molly Hagan, Andy Buckley, Robert Patrick, Kimberley Williams- Paisley, Max Carver, Sharon Omi, Gia Mantegna, Martin Sheen.
Directed by Allison Burnett.
Ask Me Anything is based on a novel, Undiscovered Gyrl, by Allison Burnett wrote the screenplay for and directed this film. It is the picture of a troubled teenager, the problems in herself, with her parents, sexuality and promiscuity, trying to make an independent life. And she decides not to go to College, a teacher advising her to get some structure and discipline in her life by writing a blog, which she does, anonymously, confiding all her experiences to the blog and to her readers –, and, later, the Martin Sheen character indicates that this is a problem with teenagers, wanting attention, to be attractive.
Britt Robertson is Katie, and gives a persuasive performance. Molly Hagan is her mother with alcoholic husband, Robert Patrick, and is about to marry a lawyer police officer, Andy Buckley. Justin Long is a university lecturer with whom Katie has an affair even though he is engaged. Christian Slater is a wealthy businessman who employs her to look after his child and who has an affair with Katie. Martin Sheen is a bookshop owner from whom Katie seeks good advice.
All goes well with this exploration of Katie’s character, her voice-over narration, the entries in the blog. She is pregnant, is considering having an abortion, moving out of home… The last five minutes of the film are quite unexpected and have made many commentators on the film very angry, saying that it spoils all that has gone before. Whether one likes the ending or not, it is important to ask why the writer-director included it – and listen to Katie’s words in her final blog, that she had to move out and to find a new life. She disappears, her mother blogging to get leads, hiring a private detective who interviews all the significant people in her life, finding that her blog mainly tells the truth with some details changed. It would seem appropriate that she has entirely disappeared to make her own life.
1. The title? Undiscovered Gyrl? The title of the blog?
2. The director, writing the screenplay, adapting his novel? A visual interpretation, especially with the blog entries?
3. A teenager story, a young girl, typical behaviour, her commentaries? Home, the relationship with her father, going to visit him, his drinking? Her mother’s partner and ridiculing him as “the moustacche“? Her age, deciding not to go to college, the reasons? The teacher urging structure and urging the blog – and later meeting her in the street? Her friends? Dan and the affair, Rory and the relationship, sex and brutality, the promiscuity? Communicating via her blog?
4. Her character, the narration, revelation of her interior life and mooods, her confusion?
5. Dan, his age, university lecturer, his relationship with his girlfriend, engaged? The sexual encounters and their effect, casual, his moving, 30 minutes away, Katie not having a car? Cut off, the phone call, the girlfriend answering, having the use of the car, driving out, the sexual experience, then cutting it off, his own engagement? The effect on Katie?
6. Rory, her boyfriend, watching TV, sexual experiences, his violent reaction, later talking together?
7. Not going to college, getting a job, seeing Glenn with his notice, the bookshop, his welcome, the discussions about literature, payment? The revelation about his being a sex offender? Her phoning him, giving up the job? The later visit, asking him about the truth, his explanation of what he was like as young, the prostitute, drinking, the violence, imprisonment? His love for books and art, welcoming Katie back, the long talk, his calm advice, about the abortion, about life, about guilt and regrets, offering her the room? Bringing up her child?
8. Paul, the phone call, his wife, the baby, getting the job, her loving care for the child? Paul and his age, at work, money, his wife not wanting another child, going back to work? Katie and her attitude towards Paul, the Valentine gift, the sexual encounter and the touch of seduction, talking, Paul and his list about happiness, the commentary on each of the points, a touch pessimistic? Cutting of the relationship with him?
9. The older student, their meetings, talk, his frank attitudes in explaining her to herself?
10. The father, drinking, the past, sportswriter, not finishing the book? Leaving, his resentment towards his wife? His relationship with the new partner, the visits, the presents, the box of codes, his collapse, hospital?
11. The flashbacks during the sexual encounters, the memories – abuse? The sending of the letter, beginning to understand better, the effect?
12. The visit to the counsellor, her writing the false letter in her mother’s name, the further interviews, the suggestion to write the letter to the abuser, her posting it?
13. Discovering she was pregnant, the effect? Possibilities of abortion, keeping the baby?
14. The blog, confiding, the variety of responses, angers when she did not post?
15. The final resolution, finishing the blog, saying she had to find a life?
16. The impact of the final five minutes, her mother using the blog to find leads, the private detective, interviewing all the person in her life, the comments about accuracy, some inaccuracies?
17. The tone of the final five minutes – in a sense, moral cautionary tone for teenagers?