Our reviewer in Tribeca…The Adderall Diaries


Maysa Moncao has been hitting the film festival circuit hard, this time at Tribeca. She sends back this review of the film The Adderall Diaries, starring James Franco. Check out her LinkedIn profile for more and contact details.

It’s no secret that losers are interesting characters for the movie industry.

It has been so since the ‘Nouvelle Vague’, when directors such as Godard, Truffaut and Resnais pointed at common people to be their rising stars in opposition to the glamourous and very well dressed muses of the Hollywood in the 40s.

Compare, for example, Grace Kelly in Rear Window and all five movies in which Antoine Duanell is the super-ego of Truffaut. In The Adderall Diaries, James Franco (also producer) plays a writer paralyzed with a block of creativity. In search for a new story, he is obsessed by his memories from family days and tries to get inspiration from drugs and wild sex (just like Jack Kerouac). But Franco, Elliott in this feature, ain’t no beat talent. He is not capable of finding a compelling story following a crime trial. He ain’t no Capote either.

The world has changed since the 60s and Franco was raised in Sillicon Valley. Where you come from and when you were born consistently build your personality. Focus on that tech perseverance of the nerds in the Big Sur and you will solve Franco’s mystery and marketing strategies.

Nevertheless this egotrip, explicit by his character’s lines, “So what!? Back to me!”, Franco is in search of a truth. His truth is Hollywood truth. Blurred and suffocating attempts to write better than a 14 year old guy fullfil Elliott’s days. Expressing hope,  we have Ed Harris as his father, one of the most delicate of actors who here plays a violent and regretful father.

The story of the diaries, punctuated by the drug Adderall, comes mixed with the drama of fathers and sons. Elliott’s way of trying to find the right word is like a detective’s. He sets the photos and clips of articles in front of him on a board.

Do detectives actually need this to show their thoughts? Of course, no writer types and prints his first pages and then delivers it physically to his agent. Not since the creation of PDF.

We know truth likes to hide itself, and the movies are a game of hide and seek with the audience. C’mon buy me! Follow me to the rabbit hole. Is it too late to be high in a haze? If you can be fooled as Alice in Wonderland, or have never read Kerouac or Capote, then follow this path.

Maysa Moncao







Pamela Romanowsky studied behavioral psychology at Macalester College, veritè documentary filmmaking with Barbara Kopple, and narrative filmmaking at New York University. “The Adderall Diaries” is her first feature.

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