Not your typical romance chick-flick, Keith directed by Todd Kessler, poses a different spin on the outlook of teenage high school romances. Although still about love and trying to find one’s self, it dives a little deeper into the fact that you simply cannot control what turns your feelings take. No matter how hard you may try.
Natalie (Elisabeth Harnois) is a high school senior who pretty much has her hand in just about everything. Star tennis player, straight-A student and year book editor, her schedule is kept pretty full in order to give her that edge in acquiring a scholarship to Duke University. Not really having much time for herself, she meets and takes an interest to a transfer student named Rafael (Ignacio Serrichio). They begin to spend time with each other and eventually become a couple just when she is paired up for a chemistry assignment with a care-free, rebellious unorthodox student named Keith (Jesse McCartney). At first, he is quite un-cooperative with her in completing their project which annoys her and she tries to get out of working with him but to no avail.
As times goes on, he presses her to go out with him, as a friend of course, as he is fully aware of her relationship with Rafael. Reluctant at first, she finally gives in and finds herself spending a lot of time with him and they eventually begin to click. They ride around in his vintage yellow Chevy truck that he is restoring and begin to have fun doing random things. She grows accustomed to and even starts to like his out of characteristic nature. As soon they begin to get close, Keith disappears without any warning. Worried, Natalie embarks on an investigation to try to discover what’s going on with him.
I happened to stumble upon this film one day on cable which was originally released at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in April of 2008. I was thoroughly pleased by the story and impact that screenplay writer David Zabel brought to this film. In his first major film performance, McCartney does a pretty solid job. There are some moments where his character’s sarcasm and ongoing difficultness tends to become irritating but then again, that’s what he is supposed to do. You can kind of tell what Harnois’ character is going through trying to be his lab partner and eventual friend. Her presentation of Natalie was a much more realistic version of a female high school senior trying to better herself academically and athletically. It was a nice change of pace from the typical snobby, bullying cheerleader character that we usually get out of a high school drama.
The combination of real life obstacles that teenagers go through along with dealings in love and feelings are well demonstrated in this film. It brings a lot of things to light and it’s easy to relate to the characters and their troubles. The story stands by its tag line contained in the movie poster “Love is a force you can’t control”. For anyone who has ever been in love, you know what that’s like. I give Keith “3.5 vintage yellow trucks out of 5”.
“I had it all figured out. So I cut out a little early? Who cares? It's probably a good thing. Life sucks, anyway. Then I met you, and it got weird. And you were so amazing. And I...I just wanted a little more time. So all in all, I'd say you're the worst thing that's ever happened to me.”