Backed by a soundtrack that includes a number of classic Violent Femmes songs, this is a beautiful, touching, awkward movie about acceptance, love, social misfits, and revenge. At first glance, this may look like a somewhat typical movie about an attractive high school girl using a geek and/or outcast to further he own academic agenda, ultimately falling for said geek and/or outcast, thus humanizing her and bringing him out of his socially awkward shell. Most of the movie is over by the time that you realize this isn’t a romantic teen comedy or follows that model.
This is a movie you can actually imagine happening, if not to you, then possibly to someone you know. Yes, it has its quirks. Our hero, Hal, has a horrible stutter. Hal’s school-appointed speech councilor doesn’t actually know anything about speech disorders, but could kill if Hal was hyperactive. The romantic lead, Ginny, is driven by a fierce desire to win a trophy that she believes was unceremoniously taken from her the previous year when her debate partner, Ben, choked during the state finals. Hal’s brother is a klepto who just seems slightly off, but we’re never really sure why.
Rocket Science is refreshing in that it doesn’t conform to the standards set by most romantic teen comedies. Spoiler alert! The guy doesn’t get the girl at the end. I’m sorry, but if that’s what you’re hoping for, prepare to be disappointed. This is more real. It really hits you when all the pieces fall into place and you realize what’s been going on. And while the ending may not be typical, our two leads, Hal and Ginny, do learn things, things about themselves and about the world, about love and about life, and about how it’s all just a bit of a bitch.
This is a very simple movie wonderfully brought to life by great performances. It’s a perfect movie to watch on a gray and rainy day, when nothing is going on and you can be free to just take it all in.
Listening to: Shiny Toy Guns - Finale/Reprise