Grim viewing for Christmas Eve, but I made my choice. Very effective as a silent film, but far less convincing with dialogue. Admirable for being a far less pervy and male-gazey alternative to Larry Clark's 'Kids', but probably not going to be watched by the very teenagers who might find it useful or comforting. UK gov. 'This is Abuse' campaign depicted unself-aware abusers like Patrick but with much broader reach.
Writer-director Eliza Hittman delivers an indie drama that is much like 1001 other indie dramas. The performance from the lead female (Gina Piersanti) helps, and there are a few very good scenes, but it's ultimately disposable fare, despite looking at an interesting chapter in the developing sexuality of a girl desperate to pretend she is ready to be a woman.
Not many films portray the theme of sexual initiation with such insight and compassion, even fewer come from the female perspective. Discreet & unhistrionic in its approach to teenage dynamics, the protagonist here wears the ill-fitting mask of sexual willingness and maturity amid the promptings of peer influence & biology. This bildungsroman interrogates her on the threshold of a fraught rite of passage.
I admit from time to time I like a little more drama, this film rather than play things up for drama rather some quiet tragedies occur. Not everything is explained so we can hazard a guess, which I think is better than some of the more exploitative movies in similar territory. I think it handled the themes well but this movie isn't for everyone it's a bit of a slow burn.
I am always surprised by the instincts of filmmakers who use the beauty and instincts of young actors to fashion patient, real, and honest films. This is a terrific example: sensuous and stylish, touching on the uncertainties of adolescent sexual awakening and anxiety, which can be confused with or replace love. The father relationship here is key. Gina Piersanti is a natural presence and no doubt will be a star.
This is a solid four (for me). I think the weak story is intentional. The perspective is from a lonely and impressionable teenage girl. As an adult, I see that perspective as tenuous and inexperienced, which is what is portrayed. The existential quality here can make the film boring or interesting depending on whether the viewer can sympathize with the lead. As others have remarked, gorgeous cinematography.