Cemetery dates

Mia Wasikowska and Henry "son of Dennis" Hopper in Restless.

By the look of this pic they should have called this film "Having plenty of rest, actually".

Release Date: 13 February 2012
2011 | 12  | 87 minutes | £12.99
Director: Gus Van Sant
Cast: Henry Hopper, Mia Wasikowska, Ryo Kase, Schuler Fisk, Jane Adams

Describing the plot of Restless makes it sound pretty twee. The main character is a death-obsessed teenage boy who meets a terminally ill girl at a funeral he’s crashed; they fall in love, and spend her final days bird-watching and playing board games with the (possibly imaginary) ghost of a World War II kamikaze pilot. Preposterous? Yes, but it works – just about.

Gus Van Sant’s portrayal of doomed teen romance is unashamedly quirky: it’s stylised and lightweight, but it’s that lightness that makes the inevitable conclusion seem so devastating. Ignoring the cold, hard realities of chemotherapy and hospital bills, Restless transports its tragic couple into a world of junk food and vintage clothing, where everything looks like the perfect Polaroid photo and there’s always a Sufjan Stevens song playing. Portland has never looked so beautiful, or so quintessentially American, as it does here.

Understated performances by the two leads makes their relationship believable, but it’s the addition of Hiroshi, the spectral soldier, that really makes things interesting. Is he a ghost? A manifestation of death? Or just wishful thinking? Whatever he is, he adds a welcome note of weirdness to this aggressively charming tearjerker. Better stock up on tissues.


A silent version of the film, complete with decorative dialogue cards (each scene was shot twice, with and without dialogue, and an entire silent version was edited together); three deleted scenes; five featurettes (about 30 minutes’ worth, in total); the trailer.

Sarah Dobbs

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