Does anyone really want to grow up? I mean, it’s a part of life, but does anyone really want to have to do it, especially once it’s become inevitable? Sure, as children we can’t wait for it. My daughter constantly tells me she can’t wait until she’s seventeen, for she just imagines life as a teenager to be perfection. She’s seven. But even that isn’t really grown up. Who doesn’t want to be a careless teenager? Once she’s seventeen, she’s going to hate it because that is when her emotions are going to kill her and heartbreak will be around the corner and my ‘house rules’ will ruin her life, but she doesn’t know any of that yet. Let her dream. But, once she is seventeen and she’s crying in her room to some pop ballad about lost love, is she going to think to herself “I can’t wait until I’m thirty and working every day and struggling to pay my bills and raise a family and worry about them and life and how I’m going to make something of myself”? Probably not, because heartbreak and emotions suck, but there is still that carelessness, that aloofness, that freedom alongside it that you only get once; and then it’s long gone.
‘Laggies’ tells the story of Megan, a young woman who just doesn’t have it together. Everyone around her seems to, though, and this makes her standout as the black sheep. Her friends are either having babies or getting married or having great professional success or all of the above, and so she is feeling the pressure to fall in line, even though she really doesn’t have the motivation to do so.
And then she sees someone she respects and loves acting irresponsible, and it sets her into an emotional decline she can’t take.
So, because of this, Megan decides to check out. She meets some random teenagers, buys them booze, hangs out with them all night, forms a bond with one of them and winds up hiding out in her house with her and her single father while she lies to her fiancé, telling him she’s at a seminar. This allows Megan to just breathe, take it all in, live in her teens for just a little while longer while she mentally accepts the next stage of her life (marriage).
Of course, she’s going to fall in love with the single dad and realize that she doesn’t want to be part of her former circle of friends.
I have mixed feelings about ‘Laggies’. I find that its heart is in the right place, but it just doesn’t all work. The relationships formed and deformed here are so staunchly different that it kind of rings false in a way. Many of Megan’s actions seem overtly foolish, and not in relatable or forgivable way; just dumb. Her relationship with her fiancé feels severely underdeveloped to the point where it makes very little sense, and I understand growing apart and the whole ‘together out of convenience’ thing, because that happens, but this felt so off.
And still, Keira Knightley is a gem of an actress who anchors this film so solidly with her command of the role that she makes this a very likable little film. This tries to have something to say about growing up and taking responsibility for one’s self and understanding that responsibility doesn’t exclude mistakes and yet, it really doesn’t say all that much at all.
But it’s cute, the wedding dance is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, and Knightley is just splendid.