Wed | Nov 29, 2023

‘No Hard Feelings’ - Naughty yet nice

Published:Monday | June 26, 2023 | 12:19 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
Jennifer Lawrnce plays the role of Maddie Barker.
Jennifer Lawrnce plays the role of Maddie Barker.
Andrew Barth Feldman (left), and Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from 'No Hard Feelings'.
Andrew Barth Feldman (left), and Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from 'No Hard Feelings'.

Oftentimes, the big screen doesn’t seem to have room for the smaller stories. No Hard Feelings dares to stand out, with its introvert/extrovert love story. Jennifer Lawrence’s Maddie is an Uber driver who’s just lost possession of her car, and Andrew Barth Feldman’s Percy is a lonely 19-year-old frightened of the world. Frustrated with his reclusivity, Percy’s parents procure Maddie’s services in an effort to break their son out of his shell, without him knowing she was hired. In exchange, she gets her hands on their family car and can start to earn enough money to save her house.

As far as rom-com (romantic comedy) plots go , No Hard Feelings is more dubious than most. The idea of a 32-year-old woman seeking to date a 19-year-old man is unsettling, to say the least, even without the added layer of Maddie’s agenda. No Hard Feelings ebbs against this by framing Maddie’s endeavour as a positive. Finally, a woman gets to use her body on her own terms, despite the manipulation that may occur as a result.

While its premise is unorthodox, the performances nevertheless get you to follow the movie’s lead. Jennifer Lawrence’s Maddie is an absolute nightmare, causing fights and approaching all life with reckless disdain. Percy, on the other hand, is the human embodiment of an ostrich mixed with a gazelle, frightfully jumping out of the way of any loud noise and firmly planting his head in his phone.

Watching the pair get to know one another was genuinely endearing. Both characters become more well-rounded by the film’s end, and the moments leading up to the climax are equally outrageous and instrumental to their development. Some scenes are more jarring than others, but on the whole the film delivers a well-executed story.

As unique as the plot may be, the way it plays out is highly predictable. I was able to set my watch to the exact moment a key element of the story would occur. To that end, No Hard Feelings doesn’t reinvent the wheel on rom-coms as its premise may suggest, but it does feature some remarkable moments that are bound to stick with you.

Rating: Half Price

Damian Levy is a film critic and podcaster for Damian Michael Movies.