TIFF Next Wave: Lily & Kat
In a manner similar to a few other films from this year’s festivals, Lily & Kat is not immediately accessible. This revelation is actually quite surprising, as something about the film suggested a broad comedy or a teen melodrama. In fact, Lily & Kat almost seems to want to rebuff its viewer at first, with its eighties sheen and soundtrack, (or neo-eighties, like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive), unexpected framing device, (which almost appears to be a crutch at times), elliptical storytelling, and overall tonal strangeness, as the timbre seems to crackle, wheeze and lurch.
But then, deep in the film, (more than halfway through), something clicks into place as to what is happening in this story of the oft-bewildered Lily (Jessica Rothe) and her best friend Kat (Skins’ Hannah Murray), who plans to leave her in New York and move to England.
Because what at times seemed to be a less amiable Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, a traipse through Brooklyn and the “artier” parts of New York start to cohere under Micael Preysler’s working from a screenplay that Preysler co-wrote with Megan Platts. Suddenly, the arty Henri, (Jack Falahee), who seemed to be the guise of the clichéd tortured creative, initiates a rift between Lily & Kat in one of the most inspired ways possible, and the film’s leaden rhythm screeches to a halt and explodes with such force that it becomes an unbridled spectacle to behold. The action on screen is taken into the clutches of Rothe’s Lily, and a speech that she delivers to Murray’s Kat is heartbreaking and hilarious all at once, and really informs the sensibility of both loving and hating our friends at the same time.