Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) convinces his former best friend to spend a weekend with him to rekindle their friendship at an elegant beachside estate owned by a famous documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace). However, it soon becomes clear that Sam is secretly infatuated with his ex, Zoe (Uma Thurman), who is now the filmmaker's fiancée, and that his true intention is to thwart their impending nuptials. As Sam's plan begins to unravel, he is forced to realize how complicated love and friendship can be.
The sweet-natured comedy Ceremony follows a slightly delusional young writer named Sam (Michael Angarano, Gentlemen Broncos), who's obsessed with a thirtysomething woman named Zoe (Uma Thurman). Unable to stop himself, Sam drags his shut-in friend Marshall (Reece Thompson, Rocket Science) along as he crashes Zoe's wedding to the wealthy but obnoxious Whit (Lee Pace, The Fall), where the two young misfits flounder, flirt, and fall apart amid the dysfunctional upper class. Ceremony owes a considerable debt to the movies of Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums), though it's more naturalistic, and fans of Anderson's work will find much to enjoy here: characters who walk a fine line between endearing and unbearable, a cascade of social collisions, gentle satire of upper-class and bohemian attitudes, and a quirky but excellent soundtrack. Writer-director Max Winkler doesn't quite hit the bull's-eye; for all his stylizations, Anderson's characters are always vivid and alive, while Winkler's characters feel a little forced. Still, by the end, Ceremony cultivates a melancholy charm. Angarano and Thompson dig into their roles with earnest glee--these promising young actors could give Shia LaBeouf a challenge. --Bret Fetzer
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It was the unique dialogue (from Sam) which pulled me into the film from the start the first time I saw it. Sam, the main character played with absolute perfect aplomb by a very talented young Michael Angarano, is a bulls***ter. He is a fast talker with designs on charming everyone around him to get his way in every situation, and the words, phrasing, and delivery which he spits out at times are unlike anything you'll hear from any other character you've seen. I could very well see this putting some people off, citing that the character as too odd to get a fix on, but I loved it.
Throughout the entire film he comes off as a cocksure man on a mission to win the heart of the woman he thinks he loves, seemingly either buying his own bulls*** or simply not even paying attention to himself to that end in the process; you find yourself getting caught up in it, almost buying it yourself. Ultimately as the film progresses and winds down, you realize what an immature and inexperienced kid he still is, albeit in a man's body. So sure of everything and what he thinks he wants, but without a clue. He's the quintessential 23 year old in that way and Max Winkler, the writer/director, absolutely nailed it.
Anyway I had to buy it on here as it's since been removed from Netflix and it's downright difficult to find elsewhere. Don't listen to the ridiculous reviews slamming and panning it. Simply because the film wasn't for them or they didn't fully or nearly get what Winkler was going for doesn't make it a bad film. Give it a chance.
I hope to see more from Michael Angarano as well as Max Winkler in the future because of this.
Five stars, and I'm regretting only renting it and not buying it outright.