This past weekend’s Gus Van Sant film Restless premiered to a limited release. As one of the few to have seen the film, I am sad to report that Restless lived up to its name, as it was an uneasy and unfulfilling movie.

Borrowing heavily from the 1970s cult-classic Harold and Maude, Van Sant brings his indie sensibilities to one of the most standard Hollywood plots. Morphing the bizarre Harold and Maude into this “meet-cute” meets “meet-die” story, a morose teen now meets an age-appropriate pixish young lady at a funeral, instead of a free-spirited octogenarian. Without the bizarre age divide of the classic film, the lovers are torn apart by the standard “three-months left to live” brain tumor plot line.

Annabel Cotton, artfully played by Mia Wasikowska, seems to fall almost instantly in love with the goth-like Enoch Brae (Henry Hopper).  Unlike the teens of her generation, Annabel Cotton focuses her last months on Darwin and the evolution of the species. One might wonder why a teen fighting so hard to find meaning at the end of her life would seek out the mumbling dour Enoch, but the movie offers little answer to this questions. Instead, as soon as Enoch and Annabel meet, they are swept up into a montage of a romance where they bumble through Anabel’s last month in the full gamut of indie costumes and activities. Pre-death Badminton, anyone?

Enoch’s character had the potential to steal the show, but the movie never gave his arc space away from the dying-Anabel plot-line. In between scenes of heavy-handed Indie romance, the audience learns that Enoch has lost both his parents in a car accident, where he too almost died. As a defense mechanism and a form of self-protection, Enoch invented his imaginary friend, a Japanese Kamazi pilot named Hiroshi. Hiroshi warns Enoch against his romance with the dying Annabel and fades into the distance until the realities of Annabel’s tumor become too vast to ignore. While I found Hiroshi to be one of the more refreshing and interesting characters in recent cinema, his story arc was subsumed to Annabel’s death.

The one charming element of this film is the anachronistic tendencies. Though the movie is set in the present day, the only way I was able to realize the date was by looking at the dates on Enoch’s parents’ graves. In this iteration of 2010, teens live in a world of no cell phones, laptops, movies or television. Instead of tweeting about the latest news in “Hunger Games” casting and downloading new apps, these teens dream of Kamikaze pilots, Darwin, and vintage accessories like parasols and pocket squares.

If you are a die-hard Van Sant fan or curious to see a watered down version of Harold and Maude, seek out this film’s limited release.  Otherwise, go rent Sweet November or A Walk to Remember and have a good cry with better-constructed versions of the same story that haven’t bothered to drink the Indie kool-aid.