How to Talk to Girls at Parties

How to Talk to Girls at Parties
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Starring Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson and Matt Lucas
On UK Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital Download September 3rd, 2018

by Joanna Orland

This pairing of two artistic geniuses works very well on paper. To envision director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) adapting writer Neil Gaiman’s work seems like a match made in heaven, or at least outer space in the case of How to Talk to Girls at Parties. In reality, this filmic collaboration falls very short of genius, coming across as all style and no substance.

The plot of How to Talk to Girls at Parties is such a mess, that it’s impossible to properly explain. But in a nutshell – an alien girl meets a punk earth boy and in the style of Romeo and Juliet, they fall in love in spite of being from different warring, er, species rather than families….

Zan (Elle Fanning) is the alien who wants to go against her tribe to learn about Earth, and does so through her bond with earthling Enn (Alex Sharp). She’s dough-eyed and innocent which charms the heck out of the rather shy and inexperienced Enn. This romance leads to an ultimate showdown between punks and aliens, with character motivations being consistently wishy-washy throughout, making it very difficult to engage on any emotional level with this film. But boy does it look and sound good!

Where director John Cameron Mitchell fails the plot of Gaiman’s work, he excels in the aesthetic of bringing this imaginative world to life. Punk era London is captured in such a cookie-cutter way, it’s glorious. The aliens are so peculiar looking as humans that they’re almost beautiful. The cinematography feels like a fairy tale. The music is fun, and Alex Sharp can *really* sing! Nicole Kidman is just so weird. There are many joys gained from How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

As much as there is joy in watching this world come to life, there is frustration. Outside of a few funny moments and excellent vocals from Sharp, this film is weak on plot and flat on emotion. Even with a love story at its core, the emotional element is just absent, and in its place is the visual aesthetic, as wonderful and hollow as it is.


Leave a Reply