Disclaimer: I am a book elitist. You know one of those obnoxious folks who always thinks the novel is better than the movie. When my friend Allison Burnett decided to turn his coming of age book Undiscovered Gyrl (2009) into a film, I was skeptical. Could he really stay true to his artistic vision? Would the film live up to the book? And more importantly would this die hard Undiscovered Gyrl fanatic like it. Guess what? It does and I do. “Ask Me Anything” is flawless, captivating and poignant. It is every bit as gripping as the novel, no one, not even, Ms. Book Snob herself can accuse Allison of betraying his beloved novel by butchering it when it goes Hollywood. I’m not ready to turn down my nose just yet though. In fairness, Allison wrote, produced and directed the film. He had full creative control. In other words, he made his own book and did a darn fine job of it. I was one of the fortunate ones that got to prescreen this extraordinary film and trust me this is a not to be missed.
The story centers on Katie Kampenfel played masterfully and heartbreakingly by Britt Robertson. Robertson gives an empathy generating performance. Katie is a beautiful, spirited, witty and troubled young woman who has just graduated high school. She decides to take a year off before attending college. She begins her sabbatical by getting a job at a local bookstore working for Glenn Warburg (Martin Sheen). Bored with her college aged boyfriend Rory (Max Carver) she sets her sights on 32-year-old film professor, Dan played by Justin Long.
When she starts an anonymous blog, we get a voyeuristic look into her life and inner most thoughts which are uncensored, hilarious, and gut-wrenching. Things quickly take a dark turn when we learn of Katie’s troubling past with her alcoholic father, played by the rugged Robert Patrick. As the film progresses a dark secret from her childhood comes to light, Dan stops talking her calls, and she finds herself drawn into another toxic relationship with an older man played by Christen Slater.
The movie just like the book will leave you breathless, disturbed, and, dare I say, changed. The acting is exquisite, the cinematography is flawless, and the writing is superb. You will fall in love with Katie and be drawn into the haunting and stirring agonies, the unwonder years-desires, sex, self-destructive behaviors, the the insatiable longing to be loved. You may even see a little of yourself in Katie. “Ask Me Anything” will resonant and linger long after the closing credits.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other star of this film, the soundtrack featuring original music by undiscovered female artists all under the age of 21.
The film is set to be release on Dec 19th.
Watch the trailer here.