Miss Stevens (Lily Rabe) thinks things will be simple as she agrees to chaperone a student trip to a state drama competition. After all, she’s a responsible adult, right? Well…that’s kind of the issue at hand. See she’s certainly older than her students but isn’t quite convinced that she’s an adult yet and isn’t sure she’s even ready to be or wants to be. And now she’s going to be spending an extended period of time with three high schoolers who she should be supervising but also wants to be seen as the “cool” teacher by and fit in with.
Among those is Billy (Timothée Chalamet), a student who seems to have a crush on her and who she might have a bit of a crush on as well. She’s actually been warned about her interactions with Billy by school administrators and knows everyone is watching. So she needs to figure out who she is and who she wants to be while resisting the temptation to break the rules and give into impulses that aren’t the most adult or responsible. It’s a coming-of-age story for people in their 20s who are working on #adulting. Let’s see how it’s being sold.
The movie’s first poster is pretty cool. Using drawings instead of photos of the actors, it shows Miss. Stevens’ face looming in the background above the three kids, who are shown standing in front of the van they all drive around in. Stevens’ face at the top looks like the kind of thing a struggling artist in the park would sketch and then take over to a girl he’s trying to pick up while the kids look like something out of an indie online comic strip. So it’s good and definitely conveys who the characters are with an indie, hip and artistic vibe.
A second poster isn’t as good, mostly because it ditches the art and goes with a standard photo showing the foursome in the van driving along. So it sets up, in conjunction with the “Everyone needs a chaperone” copy at the top what the situation is that we’ll be watching but that’s about it. There’s nothing about the feel of the movie or anything else, it’s strictly the premise that’s being sold here.
As the trailer opens, everyone is preparing for a trip, which includes Miss. Stevens being told by an administrator that there are some concerns about her traveling with Billy, one of the kids she’s chaperoning. As they get on the road the conversation gets personal fast, blurring the boundaries between students and teacher. She meets another teacher at the event and it looks like they have a one-night-stand, though the relationship with Billy is also out there, vaguely defined but clear to the audience that there’s a crush there that might be mutual.
There’s not a whole lot going on but it shows where the drama and humor of the movie is going to come from. What’s on display here is a story of a young woman – Miss. Stevens – who’s not ready to act even as old as she is but also aware that she is older than the students who she empathizes with.
Online and Social
As has been the case with many releases from The Orchard, there doesn’t seem to be an official website or other presence for the movie.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Again, unfortunately, nothing I’m aware of here. Maybe a few online ads were run but that’s likely about it.
Media and Publicity
The movie premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, where it drew generally positive acclaim, particularly for Rabe’s performance, which won her Best Actress.
In lieu of advertising the studio has been relying on word of mouth, which it has a good amount of. Writer/director Julia Hart talked about the need for female created and driven stories as well as the origin of the story, how she got it funded and more.
It’s a slight campaign, as many such releases are, but it sells the movie very well. That’s particularly true of the trailer, which is the main element of the push. There you’ll see a movie that’s heavy on heart and soul-searching and grasping for identity from all of the characters we’ll be following in the story. It’s in at least one of the posters as well, which is good since that seems to be the main hook of the story.
What’s on display is a sweet, tender, character-driven movie that’s all about finding yourself at a certain stage in life. It’s easy to see just from the trailer why everyone has been praising Rabe’s performance and Hart’s script. This was sold very well and is one I’m anxious to see.