I’d like to believe it was fate that brought up the Comcast On Demand screen a few weeks ago — an out-of-character move that allowed me to realize that I have access to movies via IFC Direct, home of Rob Pattinson’s independent British film “How To Be.” Was I excited? Oh, yes, I was excited. Not so much when I realized it was $6.99 to “rent” the movie from Comcast (allowing me to watch it as many times as I wanted in a 24-hour period, but still), though you know I just went ahead and paid that!
Time has been scarce lately, so I hadn’t hunkered down to watch it since realizing I could until Saturday afternoon. And, oh — what a really crazy film! At just 85 minutes, we’re quickly introduced to Art, a young musician experiencing a massive quarter-life crisis (welcome, Art! Welcome!) and struggling to find acceptance from his type-A mother and aloof father.
Art laments to his quirky, funny friends that he “just feels sad all the time,” and I really felt my heart twist for him — Pattinson definitely had the awkward, morose expressions down. In an effort to help himself out, he lopes down to the self-help section of a bookstore and stumbles across It’s Not Your Fault, a book which inspires him to write out a £5,000 check in order to have the author come and “analyze” him at his London home. Needless to say, the ‘rents aren’t really thrilled about this — not even Art’s mother, who’s constantly lamenting that she “wonders about him sometimes,” is supportive of the doctor’s visit. But Art gamely presses on, wanting to find that one elusive thing to bring him true happiness . . . and he probably does.
For those of us lusting after Pattinson since his starring role as Edward Cullen in “Twilight,” I can definitely say this is a much different role for our man! Whereas Edward is the epitome of everything sleek, sexy, glossy and magnetic, Art is Cullen’s polar opposite: gangly, insecure and unkempt. Art is constantly batting his long, greasy locks out of his eyes, rubbing at a day’s worth of stubble, wearing ill-fitting pants and an unseemly plaid jacket. Art is awkward; he’s a little unstable. And I don’t think you could stand Edward and Art next to one another and really see any vague similarities at all.
Apart from Pattinson’s always-adorable mug, of course. Even the lumberjack clothes can’t really disguise that.
I have to say, I really loved this film — and not just because it poured kerosene on the wildfire that is my Pattinson obsession (though it did, of course). Art is symbolic of many people in their 20s, fresh from university and without a complete idea of where they want to go or what they want to do — aside from just being happy. Art finds solace in his music, the only hobby in his life that seems to give him real joy, and he relies on that as a compass to get him through his days. Ironically, I wonder if Pattinson himself is more an Art than an Edward in real life — someone searching, not quite comfortable with himself or his “fame” . . . someone just seeking happiness, like all of us. Regardless, I really recommend this short gem of a film — I felt happy after finishing it!