Say Anything (1989)

“You’re not a permanent part of her life. You’re a distraction.”

Cast: John Cusack, Ione Skye and John Mahoney

The 80s certainly saw a lot of teenage love films yet I feel Say Anything stands out the most. Perhaps because it contains one of the most iconic scenes of them all, perhaps because it’s the best.

When unachiever Lloyd (Cusack) falls in love with valedictorian Diane (Skye) the summer before college, a relationship unlike any of its competitors (thanks, John Hughes) comes to life. Not in that Hughes had bad films because seriously, I love his films. But Hughes just made fairly predictable ones. What I enjoy about Say Anything is the whole role reversal thing. The boy is soppy, the girl is independent. It’s a real breath of fresh air.

It also feels much more grounded and real than some other films belonging to this genre, battling for ‘most relatable’ which I think it snags.

What makes this film is the relationships, no doubt. Even the minor ones. To begin with Diane’s dad, played by John Mahoney, is one of the best on-screen dads I’ve seen. His love for his daughter seems real and is very apparent through his actions. Mahoney pulls off this role very well. Their relationship is strong and makes for a great addition to the film, one that isn’t normally explored in these types of film. The innocence of Lloyds interest in Diane is also very sweet. It all begins with a lovely phone call. No big fuss is made, and this immediately shows the audience that this film is just on a different level. There is no hidden motive or some kind of deceitful lust behind his actions.

The supporting actors are also great. Each has something of an identifier and all are so normal, that we can really relate to them by identifying with them so readily. We either are these people, or we have friends who fit nicely into their moulds. From the melodramas underpinning the film to the bigger picture being Lloyd’s and Diane’s relationship, the film has a lot going for it. Cameron Crowe has done fantastically. Say Anything is still regarded as one of the best romantic films of all time and it’s pretty simple to see why.

I think it’s fair to say anyone would love to be trapped in an 80s film.. well, I would anyway. Especially one with John Cusack. Say Anything is a great 80s film and will be a favourite among many who love this genre. A must watch if you like anything 80s or Cusack-y.

Star rating:  7.5/10

Directed by Cameron Crowe.

Running time 100 minutes.

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