Waiting For Forever (James Keach, 2010): USA

Reviewed by Rowan-George Smith.  Viewed at the Metro 4, Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Waiting For Forever is a romantic comedy directed by James Keach.  British actor Tom Sturridge leads the film as the young drifter, free spirited Will Donner, along with an impressive cast that includes Blythe Danner and Richard Jenkins.  Rachel Bilson, formally from The O.C., stars as Emma Twist, a young Hollywood actress who goes home to spend time with her terminal father, and unexpectedly is reunited with her childhood forever friend.

Will Donner (Tom Sturridge) always remembered fond memories with his childhood forever friend, Emma Twist (Rachel Bilson).  Will, a talented juggler and entertainer, gets by in life and never has a stable job or income.  He keeps tabs of Emma by following her glamorous career, and goes wherever she is, he wants to feel close to her, he’s not a stalker, just a young boy at heart pinning for Emma.  Emma’s acting career in Los Angeles has taken a disappointing turn, and so she returns home to be with her terminal father, Richard (Richard Jenkins).  Will decides to follow Emma again, and goes back to where they grew up together.  When they reunite, Will courageously tells Emma how he feels about her.  She is shocked to learn that he has been following her all of these years.  Will also reconnects with his older brother Jim Donner (Scott Mechlowicz) and, his sister-in-law Susan Donner (Jaime King) and some old friends too.  Meanwhile, Emma’s boyfriend from L.A., Aaron (Matthew Davis), heads to Emma’s hometown to clear-up complications in their relationship and is greeted by Emma’s mother, Miranda Twist (Blythe Danner).  Emma is forced to deal with her future acting career in Hollywood, an estranged boyfriend, terminal father, and her childhood forever friend Will.  Emma’s father passes away and Will is set-up for a murder that took place back in L.A.  Will and Emma’s forever friendship is, up in the air.

Tom Sturridge is one to watch for; he is an inventive, fresh-faced actor who comes from a family of actors in England.  Sturridge plays the quirky Will Donner with such ease, and gave a brilliant portrayal of a young man in pursuit of love.  His American accent was flawless.  It wasn’t until after the film at the Q&A, the director shared the revelation that Sturridge is English.  Nonetheless, this guy definitely has a huge acting career ahead, and I’m sure he will receive quite the following of fans after this film is released.

Rachel Bilson as Emma Twist, well her performance was…yawn, yawn, yawn; she was predictable, weak and flat.  The role of Emma requires an actress with the acting chops to achieve the dynamics of the character.  Bilson did not deliver. I would have preferred to see Rachel McAdams as Emma, but that’s just me.  Emma’s parents played by Richard Jenkins and Blythe Danner, wow, what a dynamic duo, they masterfully gave justice to their respected roles.  It’s great to see two equally talented actors really dig deep and invest in the script and find the nuances to their characters.  Their scenes together were always electric and full of commitment, great chemistry too.  Jenkins is a master at delivering his lines authentically and has great comedic timing.

This film introduced us to Will Donner as a carefree young boy always wearing his pj’s.  And on his journey, he reconnects with family and friends, gained perspective of life, and we see this young man starting his new life in San Francisco.  Director James Keach magically captured Tom’s humbling performance.  At the end of the film, Emma finds Will in S.F. and the final shot, Will and Emma hug.

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