Trainwreck – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Amy Schumer
Stars: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson
Amy Schumer has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame in the last few years, due to her hilarious Comedy Central sketch show, and her brilliantly frank approach to interviews. So it’s unsurprising that there has been much hype surrounding Trainwreck, in which she is both the writer and star.
Directed by Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up), Trainwreck follows New York City girl Amy (Schumer), who has taken on her father’s mantra that ‘monogamy is not realistic’, and now lives life according to her own set of rules; playing the field with a series of one night stands, while being careful not to get too serious with anyone: Her definition of ‘Boyfriend’ is someone she goes to the cinema with, though she’s still seeing other people.
This all changes when she has to write a piece on sports physician Dr Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), who against her best efforts, she is genuinely attracted to; and her life is turned upside down when she finds herself in a relationship with him. Schumer and Hader are brilliant as the central couple; they have great chemistry, making the audience genuinely care what happens, and even the blissful romantic montage sends itself up hilariously.
Though both Schumer and Apatow are best known for comedy, Trainwreck is surprisingly moving. Much more than ‘Girl meets Boy’, it also has a brilliant subplot surrounding Amy’s family life; as she struggles to find common ground with her married, pregnant sister Kim (Brie Larson); brought to the fore as they move their Father into a nursing home.
Ending with a happily (and monogamously?) ever after, the film is less subversive of the traditional romantic comedy genre than it may initially appear. But refreshingly there is little judgement of Amy’s fun loving lifestyle at the beginning of the film – the ‘walk of shame’ or ferry ride after waking up in Staten Island is a joyous, gold mini-skirted ‘I’m King of the World’ moment; and Amy is only judged by others as much as she judges them.
Though Schumer and Hader are the unrivalled stars of the show, there are some brilliant cameos throughout. WWE’s John Cena is happy to make fun of his look, playing Amy’s muscle bound would-be boyfriend, whose attempts at dirty talk revolve around protein; Tilda Swinton is barely recognisable as Amy’s tough talking boss; and basketballer LeBron James plays himself as a big-hearted, frugal, Downton Abbey fan with hilarious results.
Things inevitably must get worse before they get better; but though Trainwreck’s conclusion is not necessarily surprising, it is most certainly satisfying. Running at just over two hours, it is a little on the long side; but with such realistically flawed and likeable characters at the heart of the film, Trainwreck is definitely worth a watch.