"Flipped" is a beautiful, charming movie that's as perfect as one of those gorgeous fall days that makes you feel good to be alive. It's every bit as rare as one of those days, too, and it deserves better than its almost nonexistent marketing campaign.
Doubtless, many of those who read this will scratch their head and say, "Huh? I never even heard of that movie."
More's the pity. But now's your chance.
"Flipped," based the book by Wendelin Van Draanen, is a character-driven story about two kids who meet when they're in grade school. It follows their feelings and literally flips their perspectives as each interprets their relationship through one of the most touching finales ever when they're both in eighth grade.
Juli (Madeline Carroll) and Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) live across the street from each other. On the first day Bryce arrives with his family in 1963, it's evident that Juli isn't a girl who will take no for an answer. She stubbornly sticks around to help out, even when Bryce's dad (Anthony Edwards) pretty much tells her to get lost.
She pursues Bryce throughout elementary school, constantly embarrassing him with her attention. Finally, in desperation, he begins to see a popular girl so Juli will leave him alone.
Juli is a true individual, with a fierce sense of what is right and wrong, and she's not afraid to go the distance to support what she believes. After Bryce's grandmother dies, his grandfather (John Mahoney) moves in with the family.
But it isn't Bryce with whom his grandfather connects. It's Juli, who reminds him of his late wife.
Reiner, who deftly handles this nostalgic film without allowing it to become saccharine, proves that he's wonderful with dialogue and direction. (Mr. Reiner, I hereby forgive you for the ghastly "North.")
As we watch the characters grow up, we become more involved in the intricacies and challenges that their families face. Although life in the quiet neighborhood appears to be idyllic, not all of the residents are as contented as they first appear to be.
The performers shine in scenes that are touching and often wistful. I wanted to get to know these characters because I was fond of all of them - even the ones who irritated me.
I flipped for this movie. If you enjoy films such as "A Christmas Story" and "Ramona and Beezus," then I think you will, too.