I Used To Go Here, written and directed by Kris Rey starring Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Josh Wiggins, and Hannah Marks that originally was supposed to have its premiere at South by South West, follows the story of Kate Conklin a first-time author who’s just been invited to do a reading at her alma mater and then all sorts of awkward and crazy situations ensue. Despite the absurdity, there are some positives when it comes to the main theme of the film.
Gillian Jacobs as Kate Conklin is able to guide the audience through a world between worlds, the one where a lot of post grad millennials find themselves in today. The feeling of time and space where you reminisce on your collegiate conquests while you also find yourself in the dream you once had, but you end up realizing, that dream isn’t the reality you expected it to be. Jacobs is able to convey those feelings very clearly however, these emotions are only confronted towards the end of the film and by that time it’s too late to make the impact the Rey probably would have liked.
Jemaine Clement vividly portrays a creepy former college professor with a little too much ease. He is just so slithery and his levels of creepiness are akin to “the nice guy archetype” it just oozes out of him whenever he is on screen. While both Jacobs and Clement are the stars of the film, those that really shine are Brandon Daley and Rammel Chan as they are able to make the most out of their character’s situation and to bring a higher profile to their characters’ somewhat smaller roles. While these are the best performances in I Used to Go Here, the way the film is structured really separates itself from what could have been a good film.
I Used To Go Here is structured in a way that most indie millennial drama films are structured, in its style, cinematography, language and overall feel. Which is the main reason why for the most part of the film, it doesn’t feel like a comedy when it identifies as one. It’s full of perfectly awkward moments that are exactly that, awkward and clunky it feels like they are trying and I mean really trying to be on the Napoleon Dynamite level, where an absolutely outrageous thing is said in complete sincerity but is so absurd. There are scenes that have nothing to do with the story and feel more like an SNL sketch rather as a part of a feature film. I Used to Go Here has a mixed idea of what it wants to be and feels more like vignettes or sketches in a feature film’s body.
Overall, I Used To Go Here doesn’t reach the quality it could have had with its good performances and strong theme. The structure or lack thereof, its indecisiveness to identify its self-proclaimed genre, and its sketch-like feel really makes the film fall a little flat.