“It’s bullshit to think of friendship and romance as being different. They’re not. They’re just variations of the same love. Variations of the same desire to be close.”
Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
Amidst what possibly qualifies as the world’s most tragic and disturbing movie night (to date), immediately following an event so random and sad that my friends and I were left reeling for hours, we decided to power through and watch the movie that was randomly selected from our 8 possible picks, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List.
The trailer above, which is somewhere around two and a half minutes long, basically gives you the entirety of the relevant plot points to this movie and clues you in to some of the questionable acting you will be forced to endure should you choose to pursue it.
I will be honest and say that I am not a huge fan of Victoria Justice, neither her acting ability nor her personality is anything to write home about but the movie wasn’t terrible. I have definitely seen worse, i.e, Netflix’s Muffin Top: A Love Story. I could probably fill an entire separate post about how horrendous that movie was, but I couldn’t even force myself to finish it, so yep, not gonna do that.
Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List had some hurdles for sure, like the fact that the explanation of when and why the kiss list even started is something I’m still pretty unclear about. There’s a ton of pretty confusing backstory with the protagonists’ parents and a whole host of really random apartment dwellers that seem to live in their lobby. The film is set in this phantasmagoric version of New York, where you literally only see three people of color (two of them street-performers, the other a minor character who only really appears to serve as Naomi’s “backup friend” when she’s on the outs with Ely). Basically all of the male characters look very similar, and none of the characters are relatable or even likeable for the entire movie. Naomi and Ely, who are supposed to be NYU freshmen, literally only attend class when it serves the plot and appear to never have homework, papers or stress that isn’t generated by their own perpetual melodrama and co-dependence.
Speaking of co-dependence, good Lord their relationship was so aggressive. There are numerous scenes where Naomi is literally whining because Ely has outside interests that do not involve her. Not to mention the fact that Naomi and Ely are not a couple, although they spoon and kiss and exist in nearly all the same ways as most couples do, which was incredibly confusing at first.
Naomi is not only a selfish character, she is also incredibly flat. Even after the seemingly random crying monologue for her former boyfriend, Bruce 2 (which, now that I’m thinking about it, what was that even for? Was he making a movie? If so, when was that ever mentioned? Also, what could it have been about or even for? *deep sigh*), Naomi still remained incredibly flat and poorly developed as a character. The same goes for Ely, whose sole defining traits were gay (despite all of Naomi’s desparate hopes/wants for him not to) and……………….nope that’s it….so, yep….Ely. Naomi’s friend. Gay. Finished.
Whatever. (*eyes roll back into soul*)
If you can get past all of the bad acting, the poorly developed characters and their schlotcky romances, and dialogue that appears to go nowhere and tell you nothing, you may find a nugget of extractable wisdom about friendship.
“Friendship is love as much as any romance. And like any love, it’s difficult and treacherous and confusing.”
-Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List)
Friendships are hard, sometimes harder than any romantic relationship would ever be. It’s not all slumber parties, swapping music and making beaded bracelets. Sometimes it’s fighting passive-aggressively, getting jealous of new flames or having to watch one another go through something devastating. There’s no real explanation for why that is. It just happens. But when the friendship matters to the both of you, you have to fight for it.
At the end of the movie, there’s a voiceover where Naomi recites the quote at the top of this post, an homage to the book this movie is (supposedly) based on. It talks about friendhsip and romance being two variations of the exact same love, born of the same desire to be close with another person. Although I shrugged it off last night, it lingered with me. When I started college, I had a very large couple of people I had no problem referring to as friends, but as I get older that group dwindles more and more. I thought there was something wrong with me, but the more I look at it, the more I realize how my friendships evolve alongside me as I do. I’m constantly looking for that closeness and without it, the friendship withers or fades into nothingness. I’m starting to realize that if there is this continuous, steadfast unwillingness or disinterest in ever being close, in ever getting past a surface-level relationship, there can’t be real friendship.
So there it is folks,
I’m giving this movie 3/5 stars.
(One more than it probably deserves, but since it distracted one of my best friends, even momentarily, from the untimely passing of her beloved cat earlier that night, I will let it go.)
Rest In Peace, Chico
You’re 5,000 candles in the wind.
This was an…interesting movie…
If you watched Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List when it slid into your Netflix recommendations, let me know what you thought of it in the comment section down below!