It's an unwritten rule that we're supposed to feel most in step with people our own age, as if sharing the same cultural and historical references somehow enables our ability to look into each other's hearts. So why do we sometimes tumble into deeper friendships with people who are 10 or 20 (or more) years our junior or senior? Lynn Shelton's Laggies sidles up to that question without ever asking it overtly. It doesn't really need to: Instead, it simply shows us moments of connection between unlikely people, laying out several kinds of loneliness in all their stripes.
The loneliest of all -- though she doesn't realize it -- is Keira Knightley's Megan, a late-twentysomething who's just earned an advanced degree but has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Megan falls in with a bunch of high schoolers, among them Chloë Grace Moretz's orphan-eyed Annika. Megan distracts herself with their problems while she takes a breather from her own issues, though she's not prepared for one giant, complicating factor: She finds herself attracted to Annika's dad, Craig (Sam Rockwell), an abrasive, high-strung lawyer who's still smarting over his own marital disillusionment.
Shelton is particularly skillful at telling stories about people lost in their personal present. But even though Laggies is clearly well-intentioned -- and the anxieties it tussles with are completely believable — the film is awkward in ways that are sometimes off-putting. Knightley can be a marvelous actress, but she hits some wrong notes here, at times flashing a smile that looks too much like a misplaced grimace -- it's as if she's just one take away from getting it right.