FARAH-GOES-BANGIn this job, one of the most rewarding experiences is discovering a new filmmaker who bursts onto the scene with a film seemingly out of nowhere and one which exceeds all expectations.

This year, first time writer/director Meera Menon along with writer/producer Laura Goode debuted their film FARAH GOES BANG to audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival.  The verdict: a smart, modern coming-of-age tale that pleases on multiple levels.

The film tells the story of Farah, an introverted young woman who sets out on the road with her friends K.J. and Roopa to campaign for John Kerry in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election.  Farah, a virgin, struggles in her own skin and is unaware of her own natural beauty.  Along the way, she finds things within herself and awakens a dormant confidence she never knew existed.

There’s a veracity to FARAH that people seem to automatically connect with.  The characters in this film are beautiful women, but not the superficial types you find in most films like it.  They are foul-mouthed, they sometimes do gross things, and they are very intelligent.  We see them at their most vulnerable, and at their least.  We see them dressed up, and we see them dressed down.  By the end of the film, you feel a closeness to each of them, almost as if they are our own friends.

Writers Menon and Goode seem to recognize that young people this day and age don’t need contained and packaged characters to understand a story.  What Farag Goes Bang brings are three women that all of us know in some way, shape and form.  As a result, the lasting effect of the film is one of relativity.  The cast in this film could not have been more perfect – you would think they have been friends for years.

The choice to set the film against the backdrop of the 2004 election is amazingly effective.  Here in the States it was a time when America’s youth were starting to find a voice and become a driving force in the political process. It was a time of war, fear and realization that we weren’t as safe as we always assumed. The film uses this hopefulness and optimism to give each of these characters something to strive for.  There’s no aimlessness or pretentious dribble to sift through here, as the facts reveal themselves right in front of you.  At the time America was (and many could argue still is) a deeply divided country and the writers choose not to really take a side politically, with potshots taken at both sides of the aisle (some subtly and others not so subtly).  It works well as a parallel to Farah’s own personal journey.  Whereas the country was starting to discover itself idealistically, Farah was discovering herself personally.

FARAH GOES BANG is a standout in this modern age of independent film-making.  It’s a hidden treasure that is sure to resonate with 20-somethings all over the world.  Meera Menon and Laura Goode are on to something special.  They’ve made a film that captures a moment in time – a snapshot of our youth.  It’s nostalgic and heartwarming, and a brilliant debut feature.  See this movie.