Try Seventeen/All I Want [R] 
Overall movie: ****
EJW content: Lead role, POV character; maybe not his absolute best acting but, IMHO, perfect for the character.
To fans who've been hearing about and waiting for Try Seventeen, this is it... but you'll probably find it under the title All I Want. This movie was shown at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2002. It was originally supposed to have a U.S. theatrical release in the summer of 2003 (which did happen in some parts of Europe); instead, it had its U.S. premier on the Starz Encore cable channel in August. It's now available on DVD.
Elijah plays a 17-year-old who's gone off to college (although he doesn't stay there long) and is trying to pass himself off as being 22. So we have a 21-year-old playing a 17-year-old pretending to be a 22-year-old. Hey, works for me. And that's the extent of the comments I'll retain from before I had a chance to see the movie. It's not what the publicity had me expecting (it's better).
It's been billed as a comedy. There are definitely funny bits, but I wouldn't call it a comedy. In turns it's touching, funny, serious, lighthearted, sympathetic, maddening, extreme, and subtle, just like life.
The blurb on the cover of the DVD makes it sound as if the story's about what a pain it is to be 17. The main character's 17, but that's only the backdrop, not the real story.
/All I Want
is a story about the experiences of a teen starting life on his own in somewhat the same way The Bumblebee Flies Anyway
is a disease-of-the-week movie. But instead of one dramatic scene that turns the story upside down as happens in Bumblebee
, this one shifts so gradually it's hard to notice until you've traveled a ways and look back. Elijah's character, Jones Dillon, doesn't stay a generic kid-who-doesn't-fit-in type for any longer than it takes us to get the point. Then we're gradually introduced to his
unique story as an individual, and the same thing happens with the other major characters. Jones may not have the emotional depth of Frodo (who does?), but there's plenty of opportunity for EJW-style subtle nuances--watch for those micro-expressions; I especially like the waiting-to-explode anger that builds up during the later part of the film. And the eyebrow-acting is uniquely Jones's (i.e., not used by any other EJW character).
A bit of trivia is that Jones's mother is played by the same actress as Michael's mother in Avalon
--Elizabeth Perkins. As far as can be determined, this is the first time two of Elijah's characters have had the same "parent." If you want to see examples of the yin and yang of motherhood, just watch her in both movies--there's more than one versatile actor here!
Previous information had also led me to believe this movie would be rated PG-13, but because I heard the f-word a few times I wondered if that would hold true--and I see that the DVD is rated R. Besides that bit of "language," there are three instances of what the industry would call "sexual situations" (as opposed to graphic sex). The first one is played completely as comedy. The second stops before it gets started. The third--which I'd call Elijah's first bona fide love scene--IMHO was filmed (and acted) beautifully and true to the characters.