Ham on Rye ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

You either die the narrator of a Billy Joel song or live long enough to become the narrator of a Bruce Springsteen song.

One could easily walk away from this movie finding its vision of growing up incredibly depressing, but I don’t quite see it that way because overall the film seems much more interested in expressing a subjective emotional truth than in observing a cold, hard material one. The grittier “realism” of the back half is no less of a stylistic artifice than the gauzy nostalgia of the first half, and it has no more legitimate a claim on objective reality. “It sucks, but you can let it suck or you can not let it suck.”

Haley being left behind to wonder what blissful future all her friends have been raptured to doesn’t seem nearly so awful a fate once you realize that they’re probably wondering the same thing about her.

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