By Kevin Yu
Are you a Richard Linklater fan? Do you enjoy Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, and Boyhood? Or do you like movies that depict young adults, such as American Graffiti? If so, I strongly recommend Linklater’s SubUrbia to you, for it is, in my opinion, one of the best movies about youth and suburban life I’ve ever seen.
SubUrbia is a movie about some teenagers wasting their life around their suburban neighborhood. One night as they are hanging out near a gas station, one of their friends, who has gotten out of here and made himself a rock star, comes back to visit his home and old friends. The entire movie happens within the time frame of that night, and raises some great questions about being successful.
This movie is typical Linklater. If you are familiar with his movies, you know what I’m talking about. The movie entirely is made up of conversation after conversation. Very much like the Before Trilogy, where all the protagonists do is walking and talking, SubUrbia is basically about these teenagers hanging around and having conversations. If you appreciate movies made up of dialogues such as the Before Trilogy or Venus in Fur, you will also enjoy this movie. Like Boyhood, most of SubUrbia is calm and Linklater just lets the time flow peacefully, but some part of it resembles more of School of Rock, a very different Linklater movie, that is an emotional rollercoaster. There are times in SubUrbia when emotions just break out, but nothing over the top; every bit of the emotional part is realistic and convincing, and unimaginably moving since you have already empathized with the characters a lot, because of the careful character building set up by great dialogues.
I love many kinds of movies, but the one kind that Linklater brought me into is movies consist mostly of dialogues and almost nothing else. This type of movie, in my opinion, is a serious challenge for writers since they have to come up with one great line after another, and for performers too, since they need to be convincing by just talking. SubUrbia is one example of this kind of movie, and, I think, successfully takes down all the challenges.