Robert Pattinson may shed his celebrity vampire Twilight persona for the down in the dumps Brit dramady How To Be, but he’s still very much the brooding loner alienated from the rest of the world, even while affording audiences a peek into his goofy and playful side. A kind of problem child with whiskers in this delayed coming of age family dyfunction outing, Pattinson impresses with his broad range, while doing daffy and despair simultaneously.
Set during the bleak years of the Thatcher administration, How Io Be pits puppy love against acute youthful identity crisis as an inconsolable Art (Pattinson) runs aways back home, after being dumped by his live-in girlfriend. This, after her discovery that she’s mistaken his moping for an aura of elusive mystery, or something to that effect. Though Mum (Rebecca Pidgeon) is just as disheartened when Art shows up again, because this seemingly afflicted post-traumatic parenting syndrome alpha female businesswoman, is much too busy for motherhood.
It takes a little getting used to that the otherwise hunk heartbreaker, alternately James Dean-ish/Peter Pan-ish Pattinson is so repeatedly unlovable, but well worth the effort in this wildly offbeat comedy. And once again, just like his despondent Edward Cullen thirsting for a little fulfillment, so to speak, Pattinson’s Art seems terminally troubled just trying to live in the real world.
But a bit of salvation hopefully materializes unexpectedly, after unsuccessful stress-relieving bids at alcohlism and chain smoking, when Art imports a Canadian self-help guru (the late Powell Jones, to whom the film is dedicated) as a house guest and personal therapist, much to the dismay of his annoyed parents. And even though Pattinson’s tortured artist and terrible musician in How To Be suffers chronic attention deficit from nearly everyone around him, as far as the audience goes, he’s the centerpiece of attention. Even while delightfully veering between comically and tragically unhinged, for the entire existential duration.
DVD Features: Comcast Interview With Robert Pattinson; Commentary; Audition Footage Of Robert Pattinson; Behind The Scenes; Making Of Featurette; Extended Scenes; Still Gallery; Audition Footage; Trailers.
How To Be