Awkward collegiate male meets virginal collegiate female. Female becomes pregnant with twins. To quote Disney’s 1991 masterwork Beauty and the Beast, a tale as old as time. Thanks, Mrs. Potts. You always know what to say.
While The Young Kieslowski may not introduce any groundbreaking filmmaking techniques or a plot we haven’t already seen before innumerable times, it does possess an earnestness and a bevy of excellent performances, in particular stemming from the two young leads. As the eponymous main character, Ryan Malgarini inhabits the role of Brian Kieslowski in a manner that recalls Nick Robinson in 2013’s underrated The Kings of Summer or even Emile Hirsch in 2004’s The Girl Next Door. His performance is at times hilarious, other times emotional, and overall comes from a very natural place reserved for an actor with a wealth of potential. Furthermore, as his knocked-up love interest Leslie, Haley Lu Richardson plays a character very much Kiesowski’s equal while still full of enough differences to easily sir the chemistry pot and balance out their relationship well. Rounding out the cast is a number of highly-talented character actors, all of whom contribute just enough to move the plot along and take some of the weight off the shoulders of Malgarini and Richardson, especially Melora Walters as Kieslowski’s cancer-striken mother Barbara and James Le Gros as Leslie‘s strict father Walter.
A predictable film, The Young Kieslowski still has plenty to offer to deliver a satisfying experience, one that manages to wrap everything up nicely while presenting an air of optimism missing from many films nowadays. Boasted by an appropriately unique soundtrack, this film deserves to be seen, and will certainly appeal to any fans of such indie dramedies as 2004’s Garden State or the other films mentioned above.
Check it out.