Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Critic’s Corner: ‘Authors Anonymous’

    Like many English majors, one of my hopes is to get my work published. Yet, this dream does not become a reality for most.

    This fear is the focus of “Authors Anonymous,” though it shows the older side of the industry. The film’s protagonist, Henry (Chris Klein), is introduced to us as the quasi-loser. When he was younger, he had received a full-ride football scholarship to Notre Dame, but blew out his knee and was introduced to literature. Now he works as both a pizza delivery guy and carpet cleaner as he attempts to get his work published.

    Henry explains to us early on that he has two books completed and another in progress, yet his writer’s block becomes his main hindrance in the film.

    While Henry is our primary focus, his writing club is full of attention-grabbing personas, including the rich couple Colette and Alan (Teri Polo and Dylan Walsh) and Henry’s love interest Hannah (Kaley Cuoco). Although none are published at the beginning of the film, the action of the 93-minute feature kicks into high-gear when Hannah signs to an agent, and we soon view the two paths which modern writers follow.

    The film is set up in a documentary style, which almost makes the story that much more depressing and realistic. This group illustrates just how uncertain writers are and how they function: spending their time in coffee shops or greasy-spoon diners, eavesdropping for story ideas, or conducting research in questionable ways. One quote in particular further demonstrates the life of the writer: “Writing can be such a solitary existence, so it’s great to have this outlet to exchange ideas with other writers.” Yet, from this quote, we also realize how competitive each of these writers is, especially after Hannah’s been signed.

    Although the film may be categorized as a comedy, there was no point in the film where I was actually laughing out loud. It was more cringe worthy than humorous to see these writers in their everyday lives and discover some of their secrets, including Hannah’s lack of literary knowledge.

    While the overarching reality of the film definitely is dampening, there are facets of the film that make it well worth your $12. Aside from the cute while awkward relationship blooming between Henry and Hannah, Polo and Walsh comically shine as the unhappily married writers. Polo as the obsessively friendly writer is an awesome transition from seeing her sidekick role in the “Meet the Parents” franchise.

    The group is rounded out by Jonathan Bennett as William and Dennis Farina as John, giving us a healthy dose of the immature writer who doesn’t actually write, and the older, bitter writer who needs to resort to self-publishing to get his work out in the public sphere.

    With such a talented group of actors—and especially seeing “Mean Girls’s” Aaron Samuels all grown up and pretentious—the film is definitely put in its element as being a positive overall experience.

    Director Ellie Kanner should have definitely included more actors of color in the story to give a more representative look of the culture of Los Angeles, and the film does provide us with a sad wave of harsh reality, but I highly recommend this film for any current or aspiring writers. It will definitely provide you with the harshness you desperately need to actually succeed in the publishing world.

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    Grace Stetson, Author

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      David Congalton
      Apr 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Grace,

      Thank you for taking the time to watch and review Authors Anonymous. It was a tremendous experience for me to write the original screenplay and see it produced with such wonderful actors as Kaley Cuoco, Chris Klein, and the late Dennis Farina. I wish I could have made you laugh a bit more, but I appreciate the kind words you did share. Never give up on your dreams.

      David Congalton
      San Luis Obispo, CA