Before I Change My Mind 2022
1h 29m | Drama | Release date: August 10, 2022 (Switzerland)
The year is 1987, and the place is Alberta, Canada. For Robin (Vaughan Murrae), their first day at a brand-new school is full of dread, for Robin knows that the first question they will be asked is, “Are you a boy or a girl?” Robin defies simple gender labels, and their appearance immediately attracts the attention and curiosity of Carter (Dominic Lippa), a boy who spends most of his time getting into or causing trouble. But while Carter’s interest may initially come with a sharp tongue, Robin is equally curious about him and spends time forging a new and close friendship with Carter. Meanwhile, the girls surrounding Robin find them impossible to pigeonhole, much to their frustration, but one, Izzy (Lacey Oake), sees an opportunity for experimentation. However, Izzy has also caught Carter’s eye, and an uneasy early teenage love triangle soon develops that is less about gender or sexuality and more about one simple question, “Who Am I?
Anyone expecting a serious drama from Canadian director Trevor Anderson should immediately head for the exit because Before I Change My Mind is hilarious and one of the most unique coming-of-age comedies of recent years. Here we are offered 80s cliches by the truckload, a delightfully nuts school musical called ‘Mary Magdalene: Video Star,’ a Madonna-obsessed drag queen and adults who are just as unsure about the world as the kids in their care. Before I Change My Mind is a highly accomplished low-budget comedy that regularly pays homage to the work of John Hughes, Todd Solondz, Greta Gerwig and Amy Heckerling while also finding its own unique comedic voice. But underneath the laughs, Anderson’s film offers us so much more.
Historically the coming-of-age genre has been defined by gender, from male journeys in films ranging from Stand By Me to Catholic Boys to female stories in movies such as Now and Then and Booksmart. However, Anderson never mentions Robin’s pronouns or discusses how Robin wishes to identify. Robin is just Robin. Equally, there are no direct discussions on sexuality using pre-determined social labels. In Anderson’s world, we are offered a group of young people finding their likes, dislikes, emotions and desires without ever needing to label themselves. Here Anderson reflects on a brief moment during the coming-of-age process when kids are free from social labels and pressures. This short but joyous moment often comes at the start of adolescence, in the void between the child and the teen, when experimentation is usually free from guilt and adult interference. Anderson explores the slow erosion of that freedom through Robin, Carter and Izzy’s journey. However, it’s here where Before I Change My Mind occasionally stumbles.
Anderson never quite manages to fully explore the emerging personal and social pressures surrounding Robin, Carter and Izzy as childhood morphs into adolescence. Carter’s character, played brilliantly by Lippa, particularly suffers as we are left with a rather one-dimensional take on the troubled boy slowly going off the rails. Meanwhile, the final scenes with Robin feel rushed and slightly confused as they begin to unpick the emotions attached to their relationships with Izzy and Carter. However, considering the low budget attached to Anderson’s movie and the need to improvise to get it over the finish line, it’s no wonder Before I Change My Mind occasionally stumbles.
The big question is, do these stumbles distract from Anderson’s hilarious and often artistically brave gender-free coming-of-age tale? While Anderson’s movie needed a bit more time to fully embrace the journey of Robin, Carter and Izzy, Before I Change My Mind is a Canadian coming-of-age gem. Here the outstanding lead performance of Vaughan Murrae and their fellow teen co-stars makes Before I Change My Mind a fascinating, hilarious and thoughtful exploration of early teenage experiences. As the credits roll, I guarantee you won’t want to leave 80s Alberta or the lovingly crafted characters Anderson creates. But you will be equally thankful for the joyous 1hr and 29 minutes spent in a teenage world where labels are for packaging, not people.
Director: Trevor Anderson
Writers: Trevor Anderson, Fish Griwkowsky
Stars: Vaughan Murrae, Dominic Lippa, Lacey Oake
Country of origin: Canada
Filming locations: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4
File size : 2.58 GiB
Duration : 1 h 28 min
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 4 176 kb/s
Links: iMDB | NFO | Screenshots backup