Written and directed by Allison Burnett (Untraceable, Underworld Awakening) Ask Me Anything is a bitter dramedy meant to be amusing and all about coming of age and an awareness of self that hurts; it is painful to watch and dreadfully depressing. Starring Brit Robertson (Tomorrowland, Under the Dome) the film has an excellent cast of performers both male and female.
Robert Patrick, Justin Long, Martin Sheen, Mary Hagan, Christian Slater and Kimberly Williams-Paisley all bring much to the table. Robertson plays Katie Kampenfelt who is taking a gap year between high school and university. During her break, she blogs about her life, using a fake name but telling the truth about what she is up to in her day to day life.
She writes about her affair with older community college instructor Justin Long and then becomes a nanny for Christian Slater whom she sleeps with and may be pregnant by. Patrick, her alcoholic father dies and it is revealed that the girl was molested when she was six by a next door neighbor. Later Katie finds out that the father she felt was so distant, kept every single card she ever sent him and died trying to retrieve one that had been thrown away.
The film feels like a sort of off beat comedy in the beginning with Robertson getting a job at the local bookstore only to discover that the owner is a serial sex offender. She is having an affair with a older man who has a girlfriend and he moves away to be “closer to the college.” In reality he moves in with his girlfriend and the two get engaged.
While Ask Me Anything starts out with a somewhat cheerful delivery and “clever” dialogue which is meant to show how intelligent and clever the lead character is. As the film progresses, Katie’s narration becomes less focussed and darker. One of the men in the movie states that the girl is promiscuous and brings up the possibility of her being molested as a child.
What looks at first to be a semi sweet film about a teenage girl learning about life in a dark chocolate-coated world suddenly plunges into the bitter tangy taste of aluminum. Her life is not amusing nor light hearted and the film becomes less about the blog and more about Katie learning right and wrong along with making bad decisions.
Despite the fact that Ask Me Anything is rather depressing and leaves one feeling quite down, Britt Robertson turns in a real crackerjack performance. The movie feels a little like a morality tale. With the actress’s character becoming pregnant and then contemplating abortion or moving in with convicted sex criminal Glenn Warburg (Sheen).
Just as Katie is attempting to deal with her issues, the film shifts gears. The initial thought of the movie being a light hearted look at the drama of being a teenage girl vanishes completely. Of course while watching the film, it becomes apparent that despite the delivery at the beginning, this movie was never meant to be light or amusing.
Ask Me Anything is drama with a capital D and it showcases Robertson’s acting chops brilliantly. Streaming on Showtime at the moment, the film is worth a look, but be warned, the viewer may want to avoid this film if they depress easily. The effectiveness of the film’s message is 100 percent and the mother’s final line at the end of the movie will move you to tears.