10 Years (2012) Review

A lot can change in 10 years; a lot won’t.

10 Years is the cinematic response to matriculating, post high school, into the real world of decisions and responsibility. A group of friends return to their ten-year high school reunion and retrace the steps and individual choices that lead to their current circumstances in life. Writer and director Jamie Linden was inspired to create a tale of friends after high school when attending his own ten-year reunion. Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin produced this film that revisits our fondest adolescent memories in light of present day trials.

Tatum also stars in the film with his wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum. They are Jake and Jess, a happy couple that has yet to tie the knot. Ari Graynor and Chris Pratt are Sam – once a cheerleader – and Cully – the former jock – who are now married with children. Rosario Dawson and Ron Livingston are wife and husband, Mary and Paul. Mary and Jake were high school sweethearts and like many in their group who have since been evolving into adulthood they haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years. Oscar Isaac is Reeves. He has been nursing the memory of his crush for a decade. Now, Reeves is a famous rock star hoping the girl of his dreams remembers him. Lynn Collins portrays Anna. Ten years ago, the most popular girl couldn’t wait to get out of school. Anna is surprised by how excited she has allowed herself to become for the reunion. Finally, there’s Justin Long as Marty. He and best bud/arch-nemesis AJ, Max Minghella, are on a mission. Marty wants to prove to himself and others how he has “made it” in the big city. AJ intends to gorge himself on the freedom away from his wife he is experiencing vicariously through Marty.

Linden collaborated with the cast to develop each character. Once storylines had been figured, he offered the actors the opportunity to exercise creative freedom within the film. In his own words, 10 Years is, “an actor’s piece”. Audiences will be aware of the established connection and the integrity of each actor to each character.

10 Years is for audiences who relate to and love the beautiful and tortuous road to letting go of adolescence and facing the future with resolution. Ten years later, it can be disillusioning to look back on the past. Specifically, looking back on the four years of high school is not necessarily pleasant. In recent times, there has been a carelessness to the approach of how an adult can be defined, and mature audiences will recognize how actions speak louder than words. This film attempts to tackle the nuances of transitioning from one phase of life into another, one profound event after another.

A caveat: 10 Years weighs in a wee bit heavier on drama than it does in comedy. The film seems to paint a picture of maturity by setting a bar for immaturity. The bitter pill to swallow is that these are real life scenarios that must be met with real life solutions. Granted, there are a few drunken excursions of the slapstick variety, but at its center, 10 Years is a story about commitment.

Audiences who appreciate the where-are-they-now aspect of storytelling will undoubtedly enjoy 10 Years. It is a great way to pass the afternoon with friends who are looking forward to a school reunion as well as those who remember a school reunion. Does the shy-guy get his dream girl? Did the football star who married the cheerleader live happily ever after? Whatever happened to the girl most likely to? You’ll find out here.