In director Rob Reiner’s “Flipped,” two adolescents develop romantic feelings for one another. Unfortunately, they develop those feelings at different times in their lives. When she likes him, he ignores her and vice versa. Fortunately, viewers won’t have the same issue because it is hard not to fall in love with “Flipped.”
Beginning in the summer of 1957, Bryce Loski moves into a new home with his family. His new neighbor, Juli Baker, arrives to help but Bryce’s father refuses. However, Juli is already smitten with Bryce and when Bryce arrives at his new school, Juli is there as well, ready to smother him with affection. To Bryce’s constant dismay, Juli Baker won’t go away.
The majority of “Flipped” takes place a few years after that first encounter in the early 1960s. Juli still has a crush on Bryce but he continues to ignore it. As time passes and he learns more about her, he discovers that he may have feelings for Juli, as well. At the same time, she is beginning to question her affection for Bryce. As the movie continues, there is a back and forth as both characters try to work through their feelings for one another.
This youthful relationship is explored in small, ordinary situations. For instance, Juli loves a tree and spends countless hours sitting in it enjoying a splendid view. When someone orders the tree cut down, Juli looks to Bryce for support. In the same way, when Bryce is being auctioned off at school for a lunch date, he looks to Juli for her support. Both of these characters need each other and turn to the other in moments of despair.
The audience hears both character’s thoughts through dual voice-overs. We hear how Juli feels about certain situations and we hear Bryce’s evaluation of others. There are also many times when the same scene is replayed so we can be told what both characters were thinking.
One of the best things is how the story captures the idealism and the disappointments of adolescence in small but subtle ways. From Juli’s insistence that a tree not be cut down to Bryce’s avoidance of Juli when a conflict arises, this movie captures a lot of the ups and downs of being young. These teenagers are constantly making mistakes and going through emotional changes but they are believable changes we can all recognize.
Rob Reiner assembled a strong cast. The two young leads are played by Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe, who, according to the movie’s website, is making his American film debut. The strong supporting cast includes such well-known actors as John Mahoney (“Frasier”), Anthony Edwards (“ER”) and Penelope Ann Miller (“Men of a Certain Age”). Mahoney has the best supporting role as Bryce’s grandfather, who says that Juli reminds him of his deceased wife.
Overall, “Flipped” is an excellent film. Adapted from the book of the same name, the movie features a great story, believable characters and a wonderful romance. It does have a few serious moments but this is a family film that both young and old can enjoy.