It’s time for director Adam Salky and writer David Brind film debut, Dare starring Emmy Rossum and Zach Gilford. The film casts a fresh light on the typical high school drama by exposing a new side of  stereotypical high school figures. Much in the spirit of The Breakfast Club (only not as classic) the hot guy, awkward gay kid who hasn’t discovered his sexuality, and the over-achieving drama girl all have something in common!

Check out the review below…

The Players

The Plot

The movie follows the lives of three very different students as they are about to finish their senior year of high school. When Johnny (Zach Gilford) is kicked off the soccer team for smoking, he is forced to take a drama class and is paired up in a scene with the overachiever, Alexa (Emmy Rossum). After an emotional conversation with a former student and theater actor, Grant (Alan Cumming), Alexa realizes that she needs to shake things up in her life and take a few risks. All three begin to break out of their shells and learn more about themselves.

The Good

  • Solid cast: The casting for this film was spot on, all the actors did a nice job with their respective roles. The casting director did an especially well casting the adult roles; Ana Gasteyer, Alan Cumming, and Sandra Bernhard who all did a wonderful job as the voices of reason for the teenagers. There were a few standouts, namely, Alan Cumming as the one successful drama student that came out of the high school. He was absolutely amazing and funny job as the pompous theater actor who managed to become successful. It was funto see Ana Gasteyer in a dramatic role because she totally nailed the therapist/mother role.
  • Interesting story: Technically the film fits into the “high-school” genre of film, but it really goes beyond the typical beer, parties, and football. The study of the teenage mind and all the emotions that one experiences at that age was really remarkably spot on. While watching it, at first, it seemed overdone; your first response is, “Oh come one! Teenagers don’t do that sort of shit!” Then you realize you actually did, and if you didn’t, you definitely thought about it. It nicely touched on all of the common emotions that people experience no matter how much money you have, how good your home life is, or how many friends you have.
  • The use of sexuality: The sex in the film seemed to add to a greater understanding of the characters. In the film, both Alexa and Ben are both engaging in sexual acts for the first time. Now this could be simply a personal interpretation, and be totally off the mark, but the use of sexuality wasn’t to make it “edgier” but to emphasize the undiscovered power that comes along with one’s sexuality. Once you get past the uncomfortable sex scenes (and there aren’t that many) it becomes apparent that it is in there for a compelling reason.

The Bad

  • The “teenagers”: Zach Gilford, Emmy Rossum, and Ashley Springer all did a great job with their characters, but it is a little annoying when you have actors in their mid-twenties playing the role of 17-year-olds.
  • Ben and Johnny relationship: The story of Ben discovering and exploring his sexuality was interesting, but his relationship with Johnny was a little too convoluted for my taste. It is a little hard to believe that a girl like Alexa would be continue being friends with Ben after learning that he engaged in a few sexual acts with Johnny. It would seem natural for her to be really upset with Ben and, at least for a little while, stop talking with Ben. Instead, she continues being friends with Ben, and dating Johnny. It felt a little forced and unrealistic. However, it did lead to some
  • The music: The music choices were pretty interesting and eclectic. However, they were moments that are not subtly mixed in, and it was distracting and jarring at times. It really could have added to the film, but it just wasn’t utilized properly.


It felt as though this film had a lot of potential, and for the most part lived up to that, but there was just something missing. The concept for the story was very interesting and showed a great deal of thought and depth for each character, but it was a little bit of a stretch for Alexa and Ben to both have a sexual relationship with Johnny, and not have some major fallout. It just felt like there was a little bit missing from each character to adequately tell a story such as this.

Rating: 6/10

Photo Gallery

Dare is rated R and opens in New York and Los Angeles on November 13

Watch the trailer below…