I need to ask you about Claire.
Jack Spencer (Aidan Bristow) is a high school football star recovering from an injury that left him hospitalized. While he is in the hospital, classmate Claire White (Jennifer Baute) is struck and killed by a drunk driver. Jack didn’t know Claire, but when things begin to look as if she admired him from afar, he becomes fascinated by her and sets out to try and discover who this girl really was. When Jack believes that Claire was killed on her way to see him a simple fascination turns into an obsession that sends his life, and the lives of his friends, spiraling out of control.
It all started with a picture, a simple panoramic of the senior class. Sitting behind Jack Spencer is the late Claire White, looking down at him like a girl in love. You wouldn’t think from the title, but Claire is a love story; unconventional and obsessive, but a love story nonetheless. It’s also a drama and a mystery, and this combination makes for an enjoyable film watching experience.
On the surface Jack has it all, but in reality this star athlete’s life is in flux. Jack’s mother isn’t around, his relationship with his father is strained, and his friendships are superficial. So it’s no wonder he falls for a girl he doesn’t even know. No one seems to have known Claire very well at all, so Jack searches out her best friend, Sally (Tybee Diskin), hoping she can shed some light on the enigma that was Claire. However, their relationship was on the skids because Sally betrayed Claire, and all she can tell Jack is that Claire had a mystery love interest. Jack is convinced that he was the object of Claire’s affection when he discovers she was killed near the hospital where he was a patient while on her way to see this mystery man.
Writer/director Dan Ast’s script treats these high school students as multidimensional characters, and not the shallow caricatures we often see in films of this type. I might’ve graduated a hundred years ago, but I remember that high school can suck, even for the kids considered the elite of their school. Those feelings of angst and awkwardness transcend generations, and Ast does a great job of making his young charges relatable — even to those of us who haven’t set foot in a high school since Martha Quinn was a VJ on MTV (and when the M actually stood for music).
This young cast of not so famous faces are fantastic, especially Aidan Bristow as the smitten Jack. He portrays the young man with such honesty it is easy for us to believe his descent down a very destructive road. Jennifer Baute is captivating as Claire; a girl we get to know through flashbacks, photos, those who were acquainted with her, and the musings she wrote on her blog. But Claire is a puzzle, one that Jack falls in love with, and desperately tries to piece together as his real life falls apart.
Claire is a 1.78:1 widescreen presentation, and although it was not blessed with a massive budget, Monarch’s standard def DVD transfer provides clear images, sharp colors and good lighting. The dialogue is easy to decipher thanks to the Dolby stereo audio. Extras include several behind the scenes featurettes, as well as an audio commentary with the filmmakers and some of the actors from the film.
It’s takes a very good script to hold my interest, when the film’s tagline gives the story away, but Claire does just that. With good writing and
capable actors, we get a story of far more depth than your average teen angst movie.
Claire might be dead, but the film is very much alive. Not Guilty.
2014, Monarch Home Entertainment, 98 minutes, NR (2013)
VIDEO: 1.78:1 AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English) SUBTITLES: None
EXTRAS: Commentaries, Featurettes ACCOMPLICES: IMDB