One of my absolute favorite indie films is Keith, directed by Todd Kessler. I stumbled upon this beauty while sifting through the endless variety of films that is Netflix.
At the time, I never really got around to watching independent films. I would read the description, think, “hey, that might be interesting”, and then just add it to my queue — with the intent to watch it later that day. By the time I would be able to sit down and watch the film, I would have already forgotten all about it. This happens to me a lot.
And for some reason, I never check the queue when I sift through Netflix for a new movie. I’m so weird.
Keith was one of the lucky few films that was chosen on the right day at the right time. As soon as I read its description, I was hooked. And the fact that Jesse McCartney starred in it was another kicker (like… Jesse McCartney? Wasn’t he like… gone?”). So I knew I just had to watch it.
The result was that it’s been years later and I’ve seen it a million times over by now. I’ve recommended this film to practically everyone I know. This movie hits all of my favorite elements in romantic drama: internal conflict, friendship to romance, and fate. I feel like story is told really well and the modesty of this film makes me love it even more.
The film follows Natalie, a determined high school student who maintains good grades and strives toward a prestigious college after graduation. Everything in her life seems to be going exactly as she and her parents planned. But once she is partnered with Keith in her science class, he gradually becomes an obstacle in her perfect life. She inevitably struggles with conflicts regarding social status in school, their unconventional friendship, and ultimately, her future. Keith is a free spirit who lives in the now, while Natalie is the complete opposite and can’t stop thinking about her future. Keith is able to open her eyes, but in doing so, causes the downfall of Natalie’s persona.
I love that the deep connection between Keith and Natalie goes almost unnoticed by everyone. Natalie’s friends realize that she has been hanging out a lot with him, but no one knows how deep their relationship goes. To her, Keith isn’t “the weird guy” at all, but the most interesting guy she’s ever met. She is captivated by him, as he is by her. The audience subtly falls into their relationship just as quickly as they did. Before I knew it, I was feeling what they felt and struggling as much as they were.
I’m not gonna lie, I even cried a little bit.
There are some monumentally adorable scenes in the movie that I won’t completely go over because I just want you to go watch it and see it for yourself.
I definitely give Keith a big ol’ whopping five stars for Watchability. I’ve seen it so many times and I never get sick of it! The storyline is just too juicy…
As far as Artistry goes, I’d have to give it three stars because it doesn’t exactly have the most original concept. Although, it does have great use of dramatic irony and symbolism.
All in all, I’d say that if you love indie films, and especially love romantic dramas, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t love Keith too. It’s hits all those major elements that romance lovers, such as myself, expect. A must-see, in my opinion.