As I sat in the BMCC PAC theater awaiting the start of the world premiere of Struck By Lightning, I had to remove a couple of hats. Firstly, I had to remove my Gleek hat, which was pretty hard when I’m sitting on the other side of the aisle from Amber Riley and Ashley Fink, and some kid named Chris Colfer is introducing the film on stage. Secondly, I had to remove my Tribeca hat because having worked there last year, I am incredibly biased into thinking the festival can do absolutely nothing wrong, aside from not giving me a full time job to make my dreams come true but that’s besides the point.
I watched Struck By Lightning as just a typical film viewer, eagerly anticipating what was going to happen next and even though we’re told the outcome of the film minutes into it, it doesn’t stop us from becoming emotionally engaged. Chris Colfer wrote an incredibly witty script that makes you appreciate real comedy that doesn’t rely on raunchy dirty humor to get a laugh. In fact, the theater laughed and clapped so much, that the man sitting behind me asked aloud, “What is this? A sporting event?” Yes sir, it might as well be.
Naturally Colfer, who played Carson, did his own story justice but every character embodied their role to make the high school clichés and family angst all the more believable. From Allison Janney as Carson’s drunk pill popping mom to Christina Hendricks as the pregnant slighted fiancé of Caron’s estranged father to Polly Bergen as the Alzheimer’s ridden grandmother, these characters felt real and honest.
Most notable is Rebel Wilson. Playing the quirky yet oddly endearing Malerie that lives high school behind her video camera, we’re reminded that she’s bound to be the next breakout comedic actress. After her role in Bridesmaids, this just cements my belief that she’s hilarious no matter what kind of material she’s given.
As someone who had/has/needs to find the inspiration to follow my dreams and write because I can’t imagine doing anything but that, this film hit very close to home. Sure, my high school life wasn’t like Carson’s. I didn’t single-handedly run the school newspaper or be a member of Student Council. I never applied to Northwestern nor did I blackmail the student body to help me write a literary magazine. Yet I can still relate and feel grateful that I was allowed the opportunity to view this film at the festival.
I would have enjoyed the film even if some of my least favorite actors and actresses were in it. George Bush and Sarah Palin could have been the leads and I would…. actually, forget that. I draw the line there.
As my ballot for the Heineken Audience Award showed, I give this film 5 stars.
PS: only at Tribeca can an audience question be asked by Emma Watson.