Stuck in Love is an independent film written and directed by Josh Boone. The drama follows the turbulent love lives of novelist Bill Borgen (Grey Kinnear), his high school aged son Rusty (Nat Wolf), and his daughter Sam (Lily Collins) who is a freshman in college. Their mother Erica (Jennifer Connelly) has left the family and though her ex husband Bill desperately clings to their relationship she appears to have moved on with her life. Bill tries to assume the role of sole caretaker the best that he can while also encouraging the children to forgive their mother which proves difficult, especially for Sam.
Bill, in my opinion, was the most interesting characters in the film. Throughout the film you witness the deep level of forgiveness and love that he holds for his ex-wife and the root of the dedication that he has for winning her back. In a manner of speaking he is truly “stuck” in the connection that they have with one another. I also enjoyed viewing the relationship that he held with the character Tricia (Kristin Bell), a housewife that Bill begins an affair with. Though they are having an affair, Tricia wants the best for Bill and at times acts as a sort of life coach for him; giving him advice on how to begin dating and start to put the pieces of his life back together. The bond that they have though strange, brings an element of comedy and lightness to balance out the heavier character arcs.
Though a large portion of the film was dedicated to Sam’s character, she was by far the least enjoyable for me to watch. I just couldn’t digest her. She claims to be a girl who relies on no one, doesn’t need affection, and who takes delight in only forming relationships with people that treat her like road kill. She is tirelessly courted by the knightly and caring character played by Logan Lerman who later becomes her boyfriend.
I just wish that Sam could have been a strong female lead without being this unbelievably crass, inane person who deep inside is a true softie and just needed this Edwardian type to see past her hard exterior and give her a chance. She had everything and chose to blame the world for it, believing that the realization that her mother is only human entitled her to be vain and closed off.
While I thought that Sam’s character development was disappointing, Rusty had the opposite effect on me. As an actor, Nat Wolf possesses an infectious endearing nature and you were able to watch him reach high highs and low lows throughout the film. The trials that he encountered with his first love were simultaneously charming and sad. He was young, reckless, and vulnerable; which some characters in the film took advantage of.
Over all, I enjoyed Stuck in Love. There were some parts that I thought to be a little cliche, but the majority of it was refreshing and easy to watch. Many of my friends who don’t enjoy indie films have liked Stuck in Love. I think that the appeal of this film comes from the fact that you can get the thought-provoking elements of an indie romance and the glossiness of a major Hollywood film all in one.