Charming nostalgia in our own country: ‘I like movies’ review

by | Oct 7, 2022 | Entertainment

“I Like Movies” is a coming-of-age comedy/drama set in Toronto in 2003. The film is about a teenage film lover named Lawrence that gets a job at a video store to save enough money for college in New York. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9th, but played as part of the Edmonton International Film Festival where I saw it.

For anyone that lived in Canada in the early 2000s, this film will feel very close to home. This movie reminds you of the things we probably missed having back then, but also things we didn’t miss at all. One of the strongest attributes of the movie is how immersive it is. It was shot in 4:3 which only heightens the feeling of realism. 

Lawrence (Isaiah Lehtinen) is an interesting but probably unrelatable character to most audiences. You question many of the personalities and choices Lawrence makes but that’s what makes him engaging. You want to keep watching more of the movie because you want to learn the answers. But the film doesn’t make it easy. Sometimes you get the answers you’re looking for, and sometimes you don’t. That’s what’s really grounding about the story because in life there are people you tend to never understand. This relatability made “I Like Movies” feel like a true story, even though it isn’t.  

The supporting cast also balances Lawrence’s discontent. Lawrence’s friends and workers are more relatable than him, especially Matt and Alana. Matt (Lawrence’s best friend, played by Percy Hynes White) is a supportive guy that just wants to have a fun time, but also follows the same dream as Lawrence. You feel bad for Matt because he keeps getting rejected by Lawrence’s narcissism. Lawrence also treats his boss, Alana (Romina D’Ugo), poorly. He consistently tells Alana that he has bigger and better future plans, which you can see frustrates her as well. But, all the characters surrounding Lawrence are firm and expressive in the correct way.

As many good things about this movie, it isn’t close to perfect. It is a mostly slower pace with scenes that have extended shots that don’t feel like they add any purpose to the story other than making the runtime mark. While you’re still interested to learn about the main character, the second act of the film does start to feel kind of lost. You forget what Lawrence is trying to achieve and also what the movie wants to achieve. There is so much focus on just the video store part itself and not so much about fixing the relationship with his close ones or getting to a film school that he wants. There isn’t any effort shown on why Lawrence is an important character or why he should improve.  Instead, the focus is on how difficult he is. Lastly the comedy was acceptable, but there was potential for more with the quantity and quality. Not a big takeaway but it could have been improved.

Overall, the movie was a fun time, and I recommend a watch when available. It’s a 6 and half bit chicken nuggets out of 10. 

cover photo from

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