Cole (Zac Efron), a 23-year-old DJ who struggles in the electronic dance music scene, has dreams of becoming a major record producer. Eventually, older DJ James (Wes Bentley) begins to mentor him, but Cole makes a connection with James’ girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). When Cole’s relationship with Sophie blossoms and his friendship with James begins to break down as a result, he is forced into difficult decisions over his future.
We Are Your Friends is an American musical drama film directed by Max Joseph in his feature film directorial debut, and written by Joseph and Meaghan Oppenheimer, from a story by Richard Silverman. The film stars Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, and Wes Bentley, and follows a young DJ trying to make it in the music industry. Through the obstacles that he encounters and with the influence of a charismatic music producer, the aspiring DJ is ultimately guided onto the path that leads him to success.
The film was released by Warner Bros. on August 28, 2015. Its financier, StudioCanal, distributed it in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.
Review for We Are Your Friends
At long last, fans of Electronic Dance Music have a movie to call their own — a moving and authentic portrait of the artist as a young DJ, struggling to find himself in that tricky gray zone where personal and professional desires converge. But enough about Mia Hansen-Love’s “Eden.” For viewers who prefer their coming-of-age stories told in broad, believe-in-yourself brushstrokes, say hello to “We Are Your Friends,” a brashly entertaining, none-too-persuasive tale of a talented 23-year-old musician from the San Fernando Valley trying to penetrate the glittering upper echelons of Hollywood nightlife.
Striving to capture a definitive screenshot of millennial angst, Max Joseph’s formally creative, dramatically conventional directing debut probably won’t earn raves from EDM devotees, particularly those who reject the notion of Zac Efron as their head-banging Hollywood poster boy. Still, there’s no denying that the star’s hard-to-resist appeal will draw mainstream eyes and ears to a picture that would rather spin an accessible underdog yarn than tap into the more resonant specifics of its milieu.
As co-host, cameraman and co-producer of MTV’s “Catfish” reality series (and a director of numerous commercials, musicvideos and viral shorts), the 33-year-old Joseph was a smart choice to helm an up-to-the-minute feature film about the creative and professional pursuits of young people in an ever more competitive digital era. Working from his own screenplay (co-written with Meaghan Oppenheimer, from a story by exec producer Richard Silverman), Joseph establishes a punchy, direct-address style at the outset, using voiceover narration and onscreen text to give us a wry welcome to the San Fernando Valley — that flat, unenticing stretch of Los Angeles County famed for its porn shoots, vapid blondes and unbeatable sushi. It may be situated mere miles north of Hollywood, but it might as well be several worlds away where a kid on the bottom rung like Cole (Efron) is concerned.
Along with his best friends — aspiring actor Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez), get-rich-quick dreamer Mason (Jonny Weston) and shy tagalong Squirrel (Alex Shaffer) — Cole longs to escape the Valley, with its dried-up lawns and empty swimming pools, and break into the biz in a big way. The closest these guys can get, at least initially, is a popular Hollywood rave called Social, the so-called “best dance party in L.A.,” where they work as low-level promoters. It’s here that Cole has his fateful first encounter with James Reed (Wes Bentley, excellent), a wealthy, well-traveled DJ with a perpetual air of liquor and disillusionment. “He used to be good,” Cole privately notes. “I think now he just gives the people what they want.” It’s a shrewd enough observation, even if it sets up a defense of uncompromising artistic integrity that the movie doesn’t quite have the ability or nerve to follow through on.
The script’s most sincere yet dubious-sounding line is Cole’s early declaration that, to succeed as a DJ, “all you need is a laptop, some talent and one track.” Still, that one track is promising enough to earn him an extended audience with James, who gives him some pointers on zeroing in on his own voice, and even lets him DJ a party at his glassy Brentwood estate. But as the two grow closer, boozing and mixing music together in preparation for a gig at a summer music festival, Cole’s eye unsurprisingly begins to wander in the direction of James’ gorgeous girlfriend / personal assistant, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski).
In a movie that doesn’t exactly challenge the bro-heavy demographics of EDM culture (or, for that matter, address the charges of sexism that have dogged it in recent years), Sophie emerges as less a character than a catalyst, and Ratajkowski, whom sharp-eyed viewers will remember as Ben Affleck’s mistress in “Gone Girl,” has been cast along similar lines here. Her job (apart from modeling a series of unfailingly lovely outfits designed by Christie Wittenborn) is to ensure that James and Cole’s friendship, like so many cinematic mentor-student relationships before it, will soon turn sour with lust and betrayal.
We Are Your Friends
Directed by: Max Joseph
Starring: Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Jon Bernthal, Jonny Weston, Jacqui Holland, Vanessa Lengies, Tina Grimm, Shiloh Fernandez, Diana Prince, Miranda Rae Mayo
Screenplay by: Max Joseph, Meaghan Oppenheimer
Production Design by: Maya Sigel
Cinematography by: Brett Pawlak
Film Editing by: Terel Gibson
Costume Design by; Christie Wittenborn
Set Decoration by: Siobhan O’Brien
Art Direction by: Shannon Kemp
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity,
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: August 28, 3015