I get a little peeved when directors who should know better borrow so heavily from classic films as to push past the point of homage. There will never be another Harold and Maude, and to sneak its original setup into a doe-eyed indie flick seems a little cheap. Especially for Gus Van Sant. For shame.
That being said, the trailer for Restless actually got me intrigued. Maybe it's because the leads are so darn cute. They exude chemistry just from what's in the trailer, which suggests a really quite natural performance from each of the whippersnappers. The dying girl and lost boy combo has been done a little often--I'd wager I can tell you exactly what the latter takes away from his whole ordeal--but they do make a handsome couple, I'll admit. Plus, there's an imaginary friend hanging about. Movies don't do enough with imaginary friends. And he actually looks like an interesting fellow.
But I can't get over the Harold and Maude steal. Watch the trailer and tell me the lead's not a dead (ahem) ringer for Harold and his bleary ennui. The setup and the follow-through appear almost identical, except maybe we've got a bit more of a heads-up as to the finish this time around if we can surmise the whole plot from the trailer. At least Van Sant will lend a certain charm to what seems like a derivative piece of screenwriting.