Set over a single night before the beginning of a new school year, The Myth of the American Sleepover captures the enduring wistfulness of teenhood and marks a unique and idiosyncratic debut from director David Robert Mitchell.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
The exploits of four bright teenagers, variously seeking sex, liquor, dope, romance and admiration on the last night of summer before they return to high school or head to college are traced with dry humour and ample affection by first-time writer/director David Robert Mitchell. His gently idiosyncratic addition to a purely American genre - think Dazed and Confused without the head count, American Grafitti with Indie pop in place of Chuck Berry - was one of the few American films on the official programme at Cannes this year. Its charm not only travels well but runs deep too.
New girl in town Claudia accepts an invitation to a sleepover hosted by a girl she barely knows. Maggie (Claire Sloma), with whom we begin and end the film, and her square-eyed sidekick Beth are leaving junior high together and skip out of the all-girl sleepover to head out in search of boys and booze. Rob absconds from an all-boy sleepover in a romantic quest to find the girl he saw in passing at a supermarket. Returning senior Scott checks out the rumour that one of the twins he fancies fancies him in return. But which one? Even 18-year olds to whom this stuff happened only six months ago may catch the nostalgia in Mitchell's distillation of the tantalising possibilities that hang on every encounter, planned and otherwise, on a long, balmy suburban summer night. — BG
“It's the below-the-surface details... and the subtle characterizations that Myth gets right, elevating it into something that lingers, without a trace of cynicism or angst.” — John Gholson, Cinematical