As You Are Screen 80 of 5 reviews

As You Are

2016

As You Are Poster
  • Although it’s never made explicit – so little is in As You Are – the title of Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s debut feature is a clear allusion to Nirvana’s song Come As You Are. This subtle but passionate essay on teenage identity and desire not only honours the Kurt Cobain school of teen spirit but brings something fresh and richly intelligent to the field of US independent cinema.

  • It's a coming of age story with a queer twist... Only 23 years-old, first-time director Joris-Peyrafitte plunges into darker waters, and has a surer command of his mise en scène, of the flashback structure. A major difference is that, instead of projecting his own gender insecurities onto a female protagonist (the ultimate other, even if you are well-meaning), he confronts them head-on by exploring the psyche of young males.

  • Joris-Peyrafitte has learned, no doubt from Reichardt, the moody potential of landscape: a camera panning slowly around a modest home or through the treetops, accompanied by a minimalist score (written by the director with Patrick Higgins), takes intimate measure of the sadness and fleeting happiness within. The movie is saved, sometimes just barely, from the maudlin by the moments of joy when these kids get busy reinventing themselves.

  • The outline of Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s As You Are is certainly well-worn, but this coming-of-age film nonetheless stands out for its nuanced sense of detail and the sympathy it extends to its main characters. Throughout, Joris-Peyrafitte gives careful and specific articulation to how seemingly minor changes in one’s surroundings, and the relationships one chooses to invest in, can become major turning points in a vulnerable, adolescent life.

  • Much of the movie, from its attempts to capture the confusing exhilaration of youthful experience to its predictable progressive character dynamics, is labored. And the lifting of motifs and imagery from Fassbinder and Bresson can’t help but come off as academic. Mr. Joris-Peyrafitte clearly has a way with actors, though, and perhaps this will yield more palatable results in the future.

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