I Used To Go Here directed by Kris Swanberg, is her fourth directorial venture. Kris, who went to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, takes a lot of references for the film from her own life. She says that though it is somewhat a romanticized version of the actual facts, yet the bulk of it symbolizes what she felt at that period of her life.
The eccentric quality of the characters of Kris Swanberg (who is also credited as Kris Rey) is that they might be quirky but never repellant. The problems are real but it is always looked at with an uncoiled perspective. The outlook is always positive and the director never dwells in the darkness for long. The characters have a knack of finding the silver lining sooner than later. All these characteristics combined to give a sort of unique attribute to Kris Rey’s films. The characters clutch you often and make you confront those uneasy phases of life. But in the end, they always elevate you from those inhibitions and negative tractions.
Kris Swanberg, who has also written the film, finds her protagonist in Gillian Jacobs, who plays the character of Kate. Jemaine Clement as David and Josh Wiggins as Hugo give some noteworthy performances. The corroboration of a thoughtful story is not merely in defining the arc of the protagonist but the supporting cast too. It seems like every character has a history attached to it and carefully thought out characteristics. Brandon Daley as Tall Brandon, Cindy Gold as Mrs Beeter, Zoe Chao as Laura and Hannah Marks as April make their presence felt.
‘I Used To Go Here’ Summary
Kate finally becomes a published author as her book “seasons passed” releases. Though she hates the cover of the book but still hopes that the content would be appreciated. But the book is not received well by literary society and is subjected to harsh criticisms. The marketing people inform Kate that her book tour has also been cancelled. Amidst all that is happening, Kate gets a call from her alma mater. David, a creative writing professor, on whom Kate had a crush on, calls her to do a reading of the book for the students.
Kate who is in an emotionally disorganized space accepts the invitation and decides to revisit her old campus. When she reaches Carbondale, she is struck with nostalgia. She feels that nothing has changed since she left though she tells her friend Laura over the call that the parties are way cooler than what they used to have.
Kate was a part of the first batch that David ever taught in the Southern Illinois University. Though he is married now but never misses an opportunity to flirt with Kate or lead her on a tad bit. He even offers her a job at the university. In between her stay in Carbondale, she is struck with the uncomfortable realisation that her book is not good enough. She realises that she had fallen trap to in market trends, never harnessing her real potential. But she can’t do anything about it, and this permanence and irretrievability of events bother her.
The predicament she has been put into by the failure of her novel makes her do certain things that are very unlikely her personality. She stumbles, falls and acts rashly but fortunately realises certain facts that got embedded somewhere in the due course of time.
Forlorn of Hope
Kris Rey has tried to depict her own predicaments in life through the character of Kate. She talks about those intrusive feelings that one is never prepared for. She talks about a kind of mid-life crisis that a thirty-odd years person goes through. The reason why it is called a crisis is that there doesn’t seem a way out of it at first. The individual is incapable of dealing with it as being emotionally vulnerable and also handicapped most of the time. What matters the most in situations like these is the kind of people that are around you.
Being able to think that one can mend the damage, brings a sort of respite, a feeling you can bank upon when all the hope seems lost. But once you get devoid of that feeling, there is just deafening silence. The mere feeling that you can’t mend what has been done, or you will have to live with it without any scope of improvement, thrusts a weight upon you which is not very easy to bear.
Though the notions, I Used To Go Here caters to are convoluted and dark in every possible manner, but it is approached through with optimism. The tone of the film might seem tranquil or like a college romance flick but its deep layering separates it from becoming a frivolous affair.
You won’t be able to help but relate to the nostalgia one gets when gets when they visit their alma mater. The world of Kris Rey feels palatable, one you would want to reside in despite all the hurdles.
I Used To Go Here is a breezy and entertaining watch with underlying subtexts. Do give it a watch if you wish to cheer yourself up and feel a tad bit more optimistic.
I Used To Go Here is available for Video On Demand.
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