When teenagers Jack and Diane meet one hot summer, sparks immediately fly. The relationship is as powerful as either have ever felt. But when Jack announces she has to move away, their intensity manifests itself in a way neither was expecting.
With the tagline of ‘Love is a monster’, Jack & Diane strives to be an adventurous and all around disturbing love story between two lesbians in New York City. However the film attempts this by mixing together a real yet thoroughly boring love story with a supernatural element as the two find themselves followed by a monstrous presence, one that proves more passive than anything.
When Diane (Juno Temple) comes to live with her aunt in the Big Apple she finds herself lost and seeks help inside a store where she meets Jack (Riley Keough), a rambunctious tomboy who is intrigued by Diane. When Diane finds out she is leaving New York, she and Jack must decide what they are going to do and what they mean to each other.
While an original premise, there is very little that works in this unbearably monotonous tale of young love. The films empowering elements are overshadowed by the films unpleasant characters. While Juno Temple is an excellent up and coming actress she is stuck with minimalistic dialogue and a co lead with about as much charisma as a piece of plywood. Keough understands the material but she also sucks the life out of her scenes.
While the film attempts to flesh out Diane through strained familial relationships, Jack is a blank slate, a person you do not know or understand, a person who proves unlikable as she treats Diane and her friends with disdain and cruelty. The end attempts to soften her but it feels like too little too late.
Badly filmed with constant close ups and irritatingly static long shots, Jack & Diane may well be a new form of romance tale but its shoddy supernatural plot, its poor characterization and its underutilization of key characters makes this a long slog through meaningful glances and cheap special effects. This love story not only lacks the chemistry but also any kind of purpose.