Seventeen-year-old Caroline Wexler is facing a teenager's nightmare: her widowed father has moved them from trie big city to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. When Caroline realises she has nothing in common with the burnout losers in her new school she pursues the one person who excites her interest - her handsome young teacher Mr Anderson. A bizarre love triangle ensues between Caroline, Mr Anderson and a sweet, but troubled classmate.
Caroline (Kat Dennings) is the newbie townie in a ‘hick town’ as she describes it. And she hates it. She narrates a life that for her, is mediocre at best, which is an underestimation considering the local plant’s burning and its fumes are getting its population either high or ill, and a serial killer targeting teen girls is on the loose.
To up the boredom ante, Caroline initiates an affair with her high school teacher Mr. Anderson (Josh Lucas) and toys with the feelings of stoner-classmate Thurston (Reece Thompson).
The movie ‘Daydream Nation’ was inspired by band Sonic Youth’s album and one of its main characters was clearly named after the band’s front man Thurston Moore. The project is peppered with alt-rock and indie music fare in the background, amplifying the angst-ridden experiences of Caroline and her new town’s inhabitants. However inspired ‘Daydream Nation’ is, it seems Caroline lives an uninspired life, as if she’d rather give up than make do of what she has. Dennings’ monotone delivery does not excite optimism with her narration but in a way you get it, she’s a teenager who thinks she knows the ways of the world and has turned jaded from it all.
But there’s a love story in ‘Daydream Nation’, thank God. At least it tries to showcase some pleasing emotion such as young love. Although Caroline’s hot-for-teacher act is disturbing (however charming and good-looking Josh Lucas can be), her walls being torn down by Thurston (Reece Thompson) is a welcome sight. Goodbye Ice Queen, hello Miss Almost Sunshine.
‘Daydream Nation’ boasts of beautifully-composed shots; its look can be attributed to David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’. Too bad it doesn’t get Lynch-ian as the movie is so wrapped up in Caroline’s head and hormones that the subplot of a serial killer doesn’t get its screen time. In the end, ‘Daydream Nation’ is a movie solely focused on mood than story.