Film brings double reunion

“10 Years” is a story about a group of late 20-somethings who gather together in their hometown for their 10 year high school reunion. From the guys who never really grew up to the high school sweethearts who never made it work out to the ones who got married and later couldn’t stand each other, this film plays out every circumstance that one could expect to see at their high school reunion.

While this film illustrates several story lines within a much larger story line, it doesn’t leave the audience with a sense of the fact that it was planned to be that way. It is certainly not in the same category as those holiday films where the stories always seem to be going in strange directions, only for it to unrealistically end up going in the predictable direction.

The stories are all very realistic. There are several characters are easy to relate to and easily compared with someone that they used to know in high school, whether it be the bully or the girl whose life isn’t as great as it could be. That universal familiarity is what Jamie Linden, writer and director of the film, had been aiming for in regard to both the characters and the setting.

“Although it is Lake Howell High School, and they go to Pretzels afterward, and it very much mirrors Scott and my reunion here in Orlando, I didn’t want to say it was Orlando so that it could be suburbia of anywhere,” said Linden, who actually attended Lake Howell High School with cast member Scott Porter.

“I think the challenges that people go through out of high school or college or ten years out of high school are the same to some degree whether you’re from San Diego or Orlando or anywhere. I wanted to make it as inclusive as possible.”

The film has a strong sense of camaraderie, which is to be expected with an ensemble cast filled with people who have worked together before. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who play a couple in the film, are married in real life; Channing Tatum and Porter worked together on Linden’s last film, “Dear John”; Kate Mara, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraughty have also worked together on one of Linden’s previous films, “We Are Marshall,” and several other cast members had had some kind of working or personal relationship before “10 Years” was ever filmed.

This was something that was done intentionally, creating a sense of obvious chemistry, familiarity for the audience.

“I wrote all of those parts specifically for those actors, and that was kind of the point of the whole movie. We would collaborate and the script would be really loose,” said Linden. “It’s all onedegree of separation, and everyone kind of knows each other, so we wanted the chance to get everybody into a room and see what happens.”

Just as the sense of reunion and relation was meant to satisfy the audience, it helped the cast with their performances as well.

“Since we were doing it chronologically, there had to be a certain amount of trust and support, and since it was about a 10 year reunion, we figured that it would be best if it were full of people who were actually familiar with each other, and we could trust. Even if it were unspoken, you could get a sense that they had known each other before,” said Porter.

“The level of chemistry and comfort that we felt with each other was really a necessity.”

All of these aspects – the chemistry, the familiarity and the fact that so many of these things were made universal to anyone – really make the movie enjoyable. The audience, whether few or many years out of high school, is able to attach each character to a friend or acquaintance from their own high school experience.

It’s always pleasant to watch a funfilled film about friends gathering together only to find yourself pointing at the screen and saying something to the effect of “that character is just like so and so!”