Say Anything | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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At last--a teenage love story with real characters instead of cliches, poses, and attitudes. The promising directorial debut of screenwriter Cameron Crowe, the former music journalist who wrote Fast Times at Ridgemont High (book and film) and The Wild Life (film), follows two very different high school graduates in Seattle--boxer Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) and Diane Court (Ione Syke), a brilliant student who has just won a fellowship to study in England--as, to everyone's surprise, they gradually get involved. John Mahoney plays Diane's devoted but demanding father. Produced by Polly Platt, with James L. Brooks serving as executive producer, the movie stands out mainly because its attention to detail is so precise; Cusack and Syke are especially fine, but the overall treatment of contemporary teenagers is so refreshing that it almost makes up for dozens of phony and superficial predecessors (and for once, the adults aren't viewed exclusively from the wrong end of the telescope). As in Brooks's Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News, it's the characters and their interrelationships that register more than the story--or, rather, it's exclusively the characters that make the story. Heathers may view teenagers more caustically, but this movie, which is incomparably better, actually delivers the goods. (Ford City, Deerbrook, Yorktown, Biograph, Commons, Golf Mill, Plaza, Orland Square, Water Tower, Woodfield, Evanston, Hillside Square, Norridge)

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