The Dose: Lane 1974: The heart-wrenching face of great cinematography

The Dose: Lane 1974: The heart-wrenching face of great cinematography

March 22
19:15 2017

Lane 1974: The heart-wrenching face of great cinematography

By Adalberto Toledo

From the start of Lane 1974, you can feel just how much Lane will lose as the movie goes along. An air of unbridled free-will in the beginning is smashed by the various life-changing events Lane must go through as she becomes a woman. It’s jam-packed with so much angst, fear, and sadness that it will propel you back to your own puberty and adolescence.

The setting is simple. It’s 1974 and 13-year-old Lane (Sophia Mitri Schloss) lives with his younger brother and sister on a commune with her mother in Northern California. But something’s wrong, and Lane’s mother, Karen (Katherine Moennig), feels the commune has allowed too much of everyday society into it. In the beginning of the movie, she sits, bong in hand, and complains about the rules of the community, likening it to the Gestapo.

Meanwhile, nothing could be greater than Lane’s life. She lives on a beautiful commune amidst the landscape of piney Northern California. She spends her time with the other children from the commune playing games in the woods, living modestly and growing up. And suddenly she has to leave it all, get on a bus and drive toward her new life.

Slowly through the movie she begins to lose everything she held dear. And with a troubled and nasty mother by her side the whole way, her life is made more and more difficult. You can feel she is trapped. Trapped in a never-ending cycle of verbal abuse from her mother and her desire to be a normal girl, Lane has her whole life in front of her. And it’s terrifying.

Lane 1974 really captures everything about adolescence that you don’t want to remember. The pain of leaving friends, the frustration and guilt instilled by your parents, and the deep desire to grow up. The whole movie, Lane faces completely foreign situations and deeply scarring moments that as a child she should not see in order to propel her into adulthood without any safeguards.

But the majority of the film is captivating through its cinematography. Its long, wide-angle shots at the beginning when showing Lane’s life among the tall Sequoias of northern California are juxtaposed by the quick and anxious feeling of the whole movie. Although it’s not a movie that will put you at the edge of your seat, like Lane, you will feel the constant anxiety she feels when her mother is around. Decisions are made suddenly and without warning to anyone.

This anxiety is something everyone can relate with. In one particular scene, the anxiety is best represented, with a quick cut to a decision so strong it shows you for the first time the gravity of Lane’s helplessness.

Visually stunning with a script that will make you hate who you’re supposed to hate and love who you’re supposed to love, S.J. Chiro’s Lane 1974 is a coming-of-age story like no other. But by far Sophia’s eyes are what say it all. Her masterful ability to evoke such deep emotion and sympathy is a perfect foil to Katherine’s character of Karen. It’s evocative, painful and beautiful. And if you want to return to the feelings you had as a 13-year-old or 16-year-old, you have to watch this movie. 

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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