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Chasing Amy

Director: Kevin Smith


A big critical and commercial success in the U.S., Chasing Amy is Kevin Smith’s finest work to date and further proof of the rude health of American independent cinema. This third instalment in the writer-director’s New Jersey trilogy is an altogether more mature and satisfying film than either Clerks or the rarely seen Mallrats. There is a much greater thematic complexity and depth of character in Chasing Amy, which is first and foremost a dramatic love story. Smith’s hilarious and sometimes vey scathing humour is still very much in evidence, but here it serves to explore quite weighty issues of love and sexual politics in the 90s.
Moving beyond the comic confusions of teen love, Smith now takes a perceptive and humorous look at how preconceptions and private obsessions contrive to drive a wedge between people and those they love. Life-long buddies Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) are successful comic book artists. At a convention they meet fellow author Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden is immediately attracted to Alyssa, who is actively pursuing a gay lifestyle. Despite his own doubts and stern opposition from Banky, Holden perseveres until he and Alyssa become close friends. Having fallen in love with Alyssa, Holden risks everything by confronting his two friends and forcing them to face each other and the true nature of their feelings.
Displaying an admirable disregard for ‘political correctness’, Smith concentrates on the emotional truths and confusions that dog his lively and adventurous characters. For Smith, the film is about the transforming power of love, how people’s love for one another can alter their own perceptions about themselves. It’s not too surprising that Chasing Amy has had a very mixed reaction for the gay community, but Smith’s acknowledgement of the fluidity of sexual identity (What and who we think we and others are changes all the time) seems quite progressive when compared with the romantic myths still being perpetuated by mainstream American cinema

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