Molly Maxwell Sarah St. Onge

Molly Maxwell Sarah St. Onge
The titular Molly Maxwell (Lola Tash), the daughter of an affluent record company executive (Rob Stewart) and a culturally conscious artiste mother (Krista Bridges), is a standard artist creation and well-adjusted urban archetype. She has a genius I.Q. (yet, as written, does little to personify this), is overly precocious and really understands the arbitrary nature of it all, cracking jokes about each classmate being a snowflake.

And, being a child of the artistically-inclined and worldly, the expectation is that she too find her niche and create works of art and express herself, even if she has absolutely nothing of merit to say. Instead, much like the film itself, she defines her image by the indie bands she listens to and the sense of superiority that having a generally smug, overly preachy RSS feed brings people incapable of forming their own opinions.

If anything, this is the chief success of Sara St. Onge's feature film debut: being forced to choose an elective in order to complete her high school educational requirements, Molly picks photography solely because her effeminate, failed musician of an English teacher, Ben (Charlie Carrick), recommends it.

So eager to please and earn the attention of a man that treats her like something special — the very thing her head has been filled with since birth, but has yet been unfulfilled — she becomes a mere cipher for standardized teen hormonal fantasies, shoving her breasts in her teacher's face whenever the opportunity arises.

It's this observation of the forced importance that interchangeable urban poseurs have that makes Molly Maxwell a surprisingly astute work. Unable to deal with mediocrity or cope with the reality of being an excellent candidate for a lifetime of dental hygienist work, Molly, and hundreds of girls like her, take photos, start blogs and aggressively assert ubiquitous, exceedingly idealized opinions that they can't follow up on when challenged.

Unfortunately, this concept is overshadowed by a very generic story — one that was done not long ago, in the form of Daydream Nation — and pacing that sluggishly propels everything towards the inevitable, predictable conflicts and climax. None of the dialogue is clever and the scenes lack any sort of creative spark, leaving the film to suffer from the same disposition it observes, which is that of reluctant mediocrity. But it does have a "hip" indie soundtrack featuring the likes of the Lovely Eggs, Kitty Pryde, Hooded Fang and Chocolate Robots to try to force some sort of mangled, affected image.

It's a good thing that Lola Tash is actually quite gifted and charismatic, demonstrating an aptitude for carrying a film, even when her character is slightly less interesting than other people's vacation photos. (eOne)