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My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (Courtesy of TIFF)
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (Courtesy of TIFF)

FILM REVIEW

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea is charming in the face of disaster Add to ...

  • Directed by Dash Shaw
  • Written by Dash Shaw
  • Starring Voices of Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham and Maya Rudolph
  • Classification PG
  • Genre animation
  • Year 2016
  • Country USA
  • Language English

Best friends Assaf (voiced by Reggie Watts) and Dash (Jason Schwartzman) share a byline in the gazette at Tides, a high school perched on a seaside cliff. Assaf’s budding romance with editor Verti (Maya Rudolph) and separate bylines cause friction and fault lines between the friends and soon, when Dash discovers the truth about the building’s dangerously illicit renovations, also in the ground under their feet. As if high school weren’t disaster enough, the building plummets into the sea. They’re studying William Golding in English class, for a hint about how society devolves in the face of emergency.

There’s a lot to take in from this energetic and entertaining first feature from cartoonist Dash Shaw as they race against time and tide – Shaw’s loose, thick characters throb on the colourful, ever-changing textured and hand-painted celluloid even as the cynical teens quip and quibble like world-weary literati (“No one reads the newspaper any more”). The wry observations of precocious pal Mary (Lena Dunham) and fierce Lunch Lady Lorraine (Susan Sarandon as a gruff optimist) make for a charming – and occasionally gruesome – disaster movie.

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