Release Date: TBD.
Studio: 1919 Films.
Screened at Slamdance 2024.
"Alienated by friends and family for her lack of ambition, 29-year-old Misha finds a dangerous acceptance in a bright 18-year-old athlete who mistakes her for a fellow student."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Growing up has just as many difficulties as staying young. Writer/director Zoe Eisenberg chronicles both sides in her docu-drama Chaperone. Misha, soon-to-be-thirty, is content in her responsibility-free, and still-childlike, life. Meanwhile Jake, a nineteen-year-old star athlete, cannot wait for his life to take off and take him away. Both are, willingly or not, peaking ahead to see if the song remains the same, or if that page is going to turn.
Eisenberg looks at the dynamics of human change while also debating the need for a healthy plateau. Jake runs and swims, keeping his still-teen body in flawless shape. Misha might need to hide the bags under eyes but the bubble in her step and smile on her broad face is the epitome of energy. Is it any wonder the two hook up?
Or is the fact that Jake is unaware of the decade span between the two of them all the mystery this little story needs?
Aside from the unspoken drama involving Misha’s hidden age difference, Eisenberg keeps the tone light. The camera follows the two around on low-key dates, time spent at work, and how they deal with mothers and siblings and co-workers. Chaperone provides a slice-of-life in the paradise city of Hilo, HI. A grand old film house is trying to survive. High school kids simply want to party. Birthdays are celebrated, as are the rituals that end every day.
Mitzi Akaha (Misha) looks at everything in her little sphere of life with perpetual wonder. She does not want to grow up and cannot understand why no one accepts that belief. Akaha sells that belief, too; such a sell becomes difficult once her character learns that growth is inevitable. Laird Akeo (Jake) might look like he is one step away from being a dude-bro but his own innate gentleness prohibits such a decline, even as he trips over some of the spur-of-the-moment dialogue.
If Chaperone was a full-on documentary, the routine of their lives could be seen as a celebration of simpleness. With this being a fictional narrative, however, those ordinary sequences begged to have a deeper revelation than Chaperone’s slightly-exaggerated/somewhat-disbelieving exposure of Misha’s true age.
However, and more importantly, Eisenberg’s day-in-the-life is full of relatable, human moments that give proof to the relevance and very need of telling indie dramas. Chaperone is a remarkable, if simple, story that is a pleasure to see grow.