Starring: Jeff Lima, Alice Lee, Jessica Rothe
Directed by: Daniel Poliner (debut)
Written by: Daniel Poliner (debut)

A moderately charming coming-of-age film by first-time feature director Daniel Poliner, “Jack, Jules, Esther & Me” isn’t without its flaws, but it manages to get a few things right, specifically its lighthearted tone. That, along with four confident performances by its lead actors and some natural dialogue, makes “JJE&M” a soft-hearted indie surprise.

Hoping to spend some time with Jules (Jessica Rothe), a girl he’s always liked before she goes off to college, Luis (Jeff Lima) must improvise when his immature plans don’t work out and he, Jules, his best friend Jack (Aaron Sauter) and another classmate, Esther (Alice Lee), end up hanging out over the course of a couple of days.

Poliner could’ve pushed the envelope a bit more on the dramatic side and those picture-inside-picture montages aren’t doing anyone any favors, but for a quiet little film about teenage relationships and adolescent fears “JJE&M” gets better as it moves along. Call it “Drinking Buddies”-lite.

“Jack, Jules, Esther & Me” plays at the 2013 Austin Film Festival Thursday, Oct. 24 at 9:30 p.m. (Rollins Theater) and Sunday, Oct. 27 at 5:30 p.m. (Alamo Drafthouse Village).

For more Austin Film Festival Coverage, click here. 

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