A touching film about true love, loosing family, friendship, growing up and going home. Tom Sturridge carries the movie, while veteran actors Blythe Danner and Richard Jenkins fill out the cast with equally impressive performances.
Actor Tom Sturridge ("Pirate Radio"), in particular, carries the weight of the film on his back as the lead character. The actor is excellent as the film's male protagonist and strikes just the right balance of charming and mentally unstable that is needed for the role. There is a wildness in the actor's eyes that adds to his performance and he deserves extra credit for the precision juggling that he demonstrates it the movie. Rachel Bilson ("Jumper") is also good in her role as the object of Sturridge's character's affections. But at times the actress looks uneasy in a few of her more dramatic scenes. It's understandable as she shares most of her screen time with veteran actors Blythe Danner and Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins, who are both excellent in their parts. Jenkins, especially, has a talent for acting by not acting.
The film begins by introducing us to a street performer named Will Donner (Sturridge) who is hitchhiking from California to his hometown in Pennsylvania. An elderly couple soon picks him up and he tells them the story of his one true love: Emma Twist (Bilson). Emma is his childhood friend but they haven't talked since they were kids. He has been following her since college, just watching her, but never had the guts to say hello. This has consumed his life. He has no career other than following Emma around. He's waiting for the right moment to tell her how he feels. She is returning home because her father is sick so he decides that this is finally the time. When Will visits his brother, family secrets are revealed and we realize that there may be something wrong with Will. Things get more complicated as Emma's ex-boyfriend visits in an attempt to reconcile with her. Eventually Will approaches Emma and the two friends are reunited, but when Will tells Emma everything about his past, she doesn't take it the way he hoped. Now Will has to sort out the demons of his past and make some big life decisions if he has any chance of winning his true love back.
The only thing that really bothered me about the movie was an unnecessary sub-plot revolving around Emma's ex-boyfriend and a murder mystery. While the film eventually pulls out of the trap of changing from a fun romantic-drama to an odd-thriller out of the blue, I still found it to be distracting. It ends up moving the story along to a degree but I just didn't think the movie needed it. There is enough drama going on between the characters that a murder plot is unnecessary and cheapens the integrity of the film. The movie does do a nice job of letting the story unfold naturally and at a good pace. You find out a lot about Will's past from flashbacks and those are used nicely throughout the film. The movie also doesn't treat Will's dilemma lightly. As the film goes on it really examines Will's condition and questions his actions. While Will seems innocent you begin to realize that the road from admiration to obsession is a slippery slope.
Actor Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor") has earned a reputation in recent years as one of the best character actors around, and he certainly deserves it. He gives another effortless performance here as Emma's reluctantly dying Dad and has some wonderful scenes with Blythe Danner. Danner is equally good as his wife, who is in denial about the severity of his condition. Bilson displays more depth in her performance here than she has in the past and that may be due to sharing so many on screen scenes with Jenkins and Danner. Jamie King ("Sin City") has an appearance as Will's caring sister-in-law and shows a lot of sympathy for his situation, in contrast to Matthew Davis' performance as his cold and uncaring brother. Andrew Roach and Nikki Blonsky ("Hairspray") play Will's supportive friends and are refreshing to see whenever they appear on screen. Director James Keach creates a unique tone for the film and allows the actors time to establish their characters. But it is Tom Sturridge's performance that shines and makes the film really work. His ability to make Will vulnerable yet relatable at the same time is what helps his performance work on all levels. In the end, "Waiting For Forever" is a very nice piece of drama that should appeal to fans of Wes Anderson movies and films like "Garden State." It's cute, quirky, and has a unique and charming appeal that makes the film worth seeing.