I've written on this blog many times before about how I'm drawn to coming of age stories, be it in novels or film or in my own writing. So when I first read about Super 8, that was the element that really drew me to the film. Sure, I love aliens and conspiracy plots and anything with a Fanning in it, but it was the prospect of seeing a good coming of age film that really peeked my interest. Having seen the film yesterday, I'm glad to say that was the aspect of the film that truly shined in my opinion.
The group of middle school kids in Super 8 are spending their summer making a zombie flick and using the experience as a way to escape a host of coming of age problems. When the friends are together, these problems seem to fade, only coming to the surface in a couple of excellent emotional scenes. In this way, it felt very genuine to me. During our adolescence, we hide amongst our friends within the joking around and the silly things we do to occupy our time. But there are moments when alone with a close friend where the problems of growing are too much to bear and come spilling out. The kids in this movie captured that as well as the kids in The Goonies and Stand By Me, two of the best to ever do it in my opinion. When so many representations of youth in film today are such obviously manufactured inventions of marketing, it's refreshing to see these characters come alive.