Rocket Science is the embodiment of all those familiar adjectives which surface when describing standard American indie fare.
Rocket Science is the embodiment of all those familiar adjectives which surface when describing standard American indie fare: 'charming', 'touching', 'offbeat', and it’s complemented by the obligatory 'quirky' soundtrack for which we have Wes Anderson to blame.
The story follows Hal’s (Reece Thompson) attempt to join his high school debate team despite his inhibiting stammer. His participation is masterminded by the admirably obnoxious Ginny Ryerson (Anna Kendrick), with whom he inevitably falls in love.
Where Rocket Science departs form its genre counterparts is in its emotional intelligence. Director Jeffrey Blitz achieves the kind of understated beauty you would expect from a man used to examining the simmering ironies of society, and he gleans such a pure performance from his young male lead that you engage with every missed syllable and prolonged exhale that the character must endure.
Furthermore, Hal’s disability serves as an ideal tool to capture all the frustrations associated with unrequited high school love, and it is for these reasons that it’s easy to forgive the coming-of-age clichés to which Rocket Science succumbs.
It won’t lead you to any great epiphany on the meaning of life, nor does it broach new cinematic ground. However, Rocket Science will remind you that American independent cinema has more to offer than the insipid fantasies of Zach Braff.
As such, it’s worth commending Blitz’s first fiction effort and hope that, if future projects are to tackle more challenging material, this could be the start of great things to come.
Spellbound’s fictional offspring.
Charming, touching, offbeat.
Blitz eases himself in gently but with great promise.