Welcome to the weird, wacky punk scene in Neil Gaiman’s ‘HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES’


Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp in HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARITES. Courtesy of A24.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Auteurs in their own right, Neil Gaiman and John Cameron Mitchell are visionaries, each exposing us to some kind of an unreal reality. Mitchell’s HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is a cult classic-turned-mainstream musical. Gaiman’s graphic novels and other works are also wildly successful – a few (STARDUST, CORALINE and AMERICAN GODS) having been turned into solid visual entertainment. The two join forces for the cinematic the adaptation of Gaiman’s graphic novel HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES.

So what is this film exactly? To the official synopsis we go!

A funny and unique love story, How to Talk to Girls at Parties focuses on Enn (Alex Sharp), a shy teenage punk rocker in 1970s suburban London, and his two closest friends, Vic (Abraham Lewis) and John (Ethan Lawrence).  One night they all sneak into a party where they meet a group of intensely attractive, otherworldly girls; at first they think they’re from a cult, but eventually come to realize the girls are literally from another world—outer space.  The leaders of this alien colony have a nefarious plan in mind, but that doesn’t stop Enn from falling madly in love with Zan (Elle Fanning), one of the colony’s key members.  Their burgeoning romance sets in motion a series of increasingly sensational events that will lead to the ultimate showdown of punks versus aliens, and test the bonds of friendship, family, and true love.

Ahead of its bow at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, A24 has released three shorts introducing us to the setting and characters.

This next short features Nicole Kidman as “Queen Boadicea” in some glorious Bowie-circa-LABYRINTH/ Andy Warhol hair. That should be enough of a selling point.

The third vignette is…well… I honestly don’t know. Why don’t YOU tell ME?

HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES may be playing at the Cannes Film Festival this year, but for everyone else, there’s no telling yet when this will release. That will probably be something dictated by what kind of reception it receives at the fest. If it earns good word of mouth, it’ll probably take an awards season bow. If the word on the street is bad, it could go the route of SEA OF TREES, another Cannes feature A24 distributed.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.