She’s Annabel, quirky and vivacious and dying of terminal cancer. He’s Enoch, broody and angry at the world because his parents died in an accident. She’s played by the great young actress Mia Wasikowska and he’s played by the unformed, well-pedigreed young actor Henry Hopper, son of Dennis Hopper. Annabel and Enoch meet cute and morbid — it turns out they both like to crash the funerals of strangers. They fall in love. They have Feelings. Occasionally Enoch is visited by his imaginary friend Hiroshi (Ryo Kase), the ghost of a WWII Kamikaze fighter pilot. The point: Love cannot prevent death, but it’s sweet for young people to laugh and weep and act quirky together in the time remaining.
That’s Restless, the opening-night selection in Canne’s Un Certain Regard sidebar, given a characteristically youthcentric atmosphere by director Gus Van Sant and a sugar dusting of sentimentality by producers Bryce Dallas Howard and Imagine Entertainment partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. That’s it. The script is by Bryce Dallas Howard’s NYU classmate Jason Lew. The stakes are low. The emotions evoked are theoretical rather than authentic.
If only Restless were indeed restless! I know Wasikowska would be up for the challenge.
Read more from The Cannes Film Festival: