Gus Van Sant’s 2008 biopic of the gay politician Harvey Milk was nominated for eight Oscars and won two. This must have prompted the director to reassert his indie credentials, because he’s done exactly that — about as strenuously as if he was pulling a tractor up a hill with his teeth — by making a film that will appeal to around seven people in the country, one of whom is me.
Restless, an achingly hip cross-breed of Harold and Maude’s morbid romance and the navel-gazing eccentricity of (500) Days of Summer, stars Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper, son of the late Dennis, as Annabel and Enoch, two angularly haired teenagers who embark on a relationship in spite – or possibly because – of Annabel having an inoperable brain tumour.
The palate is crisp and autumnal, none of the emotional beats are played straight, the performances are sweet, and Enoch and Maude wear stupid hats ironically. It’s that kind of film. It’s not for everyone, but for me, it works.