Movie Review: “About Alex” – Love, Friendship, and Suicide

Written by Samah Ali August 26, 2014

1 Graduating from college often leaves you with a few guarantees: a damaged liver, a twenty-year student loan payback system, and an unbreakable bond with a select group of people. These people, or “friends”, should encourage you through the rest of your life, long after the college exams and parties are over. However, what happens when life gets in the way and the friendship begins to break down? “About Alex” tests the friendship between a group of adults years after their university convocation.

Alex (Jason Ritter) attempts suicide after a downward spiral of unsuccessful acting gigs and broken bonds with his university pals. After hearing news, the gang heads up to Alex’s home for the weekend to keep watch and reminisce about the simpler times. Seeing each other for the first time in years brings up old feelings and the group is forced to grow and apologize for their naïve mistakes. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Nate Parker, Maggie Grace, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, and Jane Levy, the film uses dark humor to address this lifelong test of friendship.

“There are no sides. Let’s just let this be about Alex.”

Before we get to the film, a moment needs to be taken for the casting director. Not only is this feature stacked with several talented, hilarious actors, but their character portrayals are truly noteworthy. The actors embody their characters, appearing more authentic and truthful in every scene. Plus their age range suits the plot, suggesting eight years past college with their semi-stable adult lives overcrowding their old friendships. All match up too well, the cast kills every take and delivered nearly flawless performances.3 Considering their long awaited reunion was centered around the suicide attempt of their beloved friend Alex, you would expect there to be more references and discussion on the topic. Although the writing is well done, delivering the heavy subject with dark humor, the movie barely discusses Alex’s attempt besides a failed discussion between the group. Too awkward? Uncomfortable? Maybe. However, it seems unbelievable that travelling across the country for a friend’s suicide attempt to end in a half decent argument about the matter. The writers probably needed an event to pull everyone together. In the future, they should probably dwell on the problem instead of starting new ones.

“… There is not a plus one to a friend’s suicide, bar mitzvah thing!”

The film poses a great question though: do we ever outgrow our university friends? We go through various friendships throughout our educational years, but after establishing who you are and what you plan on doing, you would expect your university friends to always be there. Graduation, moving, and job opportunities put stress on these relationships, but will they crumble like the middle school friendships we once had? It was a heavy topic to take on and it was well executed throughout the film. Sometimes life gets in the way and we get lost in the rhythm of our own lives and “About Alex” reminds us that the people you cherish will always be there, at your highest and lowest moments. Using snarky remarks and deadpan jokes, “About Alex” was a great portrayal of post-college friendships and the love shared throughout the years. Even though the film dodges its main premise, it makes up for its flaws with an outstanding cast and authentic screenplay. A film most enjoyed with a close group of friends, “About Alex” is a testament to friendship, acceptance, and love.

Rating: 8/10

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About Samah Ali

Samah Ali

With a deep admiration for film, television, and music, Samah spends most of her free time expressing and sharing her love for the arts. Studying Creative Writing at Western University, she enjoys writing about film & music and shapes her passions with the latest movie or album available.

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